Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Is New Orleans Prepared For Next Big Storm?; Deadline Nears For FOX Journalists Held Hostage; Video Game Addictions; Segregation on Survivor; IRS Crack Down on Emmy Awards

Aired August 25, 2006 - 20:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you for joining us.
We're covering tonight's top stories in depth, including a developing story right now. There's a brand-new tropical storm in the Caribbean, just days from turning into a hurricane and hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast. Ernesto is the fifth named storm of the hurricane season, and it's growing more powerful as we speak.

In the Mideast, time is running out on a 72-hour deadline for two Western journalists kidnapped in Gaza nearly two weeks ago. A Palestinian official says there are promising signs tonight in efforts to free them.

And John Mark Karr's first Colorado court appearance has been set. The suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey killing will go before a judge on Monday afternoon. Formal charges still have not been filed.

Our "Top Story" coverage begins with the developing story and the developing storm in the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is in the CNN Center in Atlanta with more of where the storm is now and where it's heading. Tell us.


Here is the latest that we have from this storm. Right now, we have got Martinique, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent in its wake.

The storm is now moving into the Caribbean Sea -- and right ahead of it, plenty of warm water, a minimal shear environment, perfect opportunity for the storm to strengthen.

And that's exactly what National Hurricane Center believes this storm is going to do.

Right now, maximum sustained winds are at 40 miles per hour. So, this is a -- fairly weak tropical storm. However, over the next 12 to 24 to 48 hours, the storm is expected to strengthen significantly. In fact, by 2:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, maximum sustained winds should be at 45.

But, then, as we get to Sunday afternoon, winds are going to hop up to about 65. So, we're going to see this thing really intensify very quickly. Then, from the next couple of updates, moving ahead into Monday and into Tuesday, we're going to see this storm move just past Jamaica, south of Cuba -- by 2:00 p.m. on Monday, maximum sustained winds at 75, a minimal hurricane, but a hurricane, nonetheless, then, passing right between western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula, moving into the Gulf on Tuesday and into Wednesday, with winds mounting up to 85 miles per hour.

So, this storm is expected to intensify. However, you have to watch very carefully, not just the individual path, but the cone of probability, showing you that the storm could move deeper into the Caribbean, which could help -- actually help cause the storm to strengthen.

But, at the same token, the storm could move on -- a little bit farther to the north, moving over, say, parts of Cuba, perhaps even Jamaica itself.

If that were to happen, the storm would be away from its primary power source, being the warm water. And it will lose quite of its intensity, to say the least. And should the storm get in the higher elevations in eastern Cuba, the storm could die out altogether.

So, we have got a lot of time between now, and, say, Wednesday of next week, and a lot of things that can happen. So, the best we can do is just sit back, watch, and -- and just observe, and prepare.

COSTELLO: I know what you're saying, but whenever you say that a hurricane, or a possible hurricane, might approach Gulf waters, warm Gulf waters, you start to worry. So, when should the people along the -- the Gulf Coast of the United States start to worry?

WOLF: Right now.

I mean, you -- you have got to remember, I mean, we have got from now all the way through to November 30. It's a long, long season for hurricane season. We have got plenty of opportunities for these storms to form. And, as you mentioned, when you get anything close to the Gulf of Mexico, this is a warm body of water. This is a hotbed for these storms really to intensify.

So, I would start making preparations right now, get those hurricane-preparedness kits ready. Make sure your cars have got plenty of fuel. Just be prepared.

COSTELLO: Be prepared to leave.

Reynolds Wolf...

WOLF: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: ... thank you very much.

The possible threat from Ernesto comes just days before the Gulf Coast marks the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It was exactly a year ago tonight that CNN meteorologist Chad Myers reported Katrina's upgrade other hurricane status, the birth of a killer storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AUGUST 25, 2005) CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: One thing you don't like to see when you're looking at a hurricane is this. Look at the color enhancement in the past couple of hours here, as it moved out the Bahamas and into the Gulf Stream -- the water here, 87 degrees.

That is the fuel, that is the jet fuel to the fire here. If it wasn't so strong, if it wasn't so warm, this storm wouldn't be exploding like it is. But it is certainly going to move across Florida.


COSTELLO: And you know what happened. Six people were killed in Florida, before the storm moved on to Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, swamping much of the Gulf Coast and the city of New Orleans.

The question there tonight is this: Is New Orleans ready for the next big storm?

Sean Callebs is there, and joins us to possibly answer that question.

Hello, Sean.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are a lot people like Al and Yani (ph) Hebron. The Lakeview couple has spent months and thousands dollars gutting and renovating their flooded-out home after Katrina.

But, with another storm churning in the Caribbean, they know what they will do if the storm threatens New Orleans.

AL HEBRON, RESIDENT OF LOUISIANA: Whenever you say storm, we pack up, and we get out of here.

CALLEBS: It has been almost a year since Katrina struck. But some memories fade slowly.

HEBRON: In this block, that we're the only people that live here, three people drowned in this one block here. Twenty-three people drowned in Lakeview.

CALLEBS: The Hebrons live in the shadow of this metal monster, New floodgates and a pumping station designed to protect New Orleans. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the levees and flood walls, and offers a glowing review of what it has done to keep water out of the city.

COLONEL JEFFREY BEDEY, HURRICANE PROTECTION OFFICE, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: It is nothing short of remarkable, what was achieved -- my opinion, that the system has not only been repaired to its pre-Katrina level's protection, but, in fact, is -- from a holistic perspective, is actually a better system than what we had in place a year ago today.

CALLEBS: But, in recent tests on the new pumping station, it failed to perform the way it's supposed to. Efforts are being made to correct the problem.

But there's no way to test the bolstered levees. Everyone remembers what New Orleans looked like when the levees failed. An independent group, the American Society of Civil Engineers, spent months reviewing work done by the Corps of Engineers, and says the levees and flood walls protecting New Orleans suffer from serious deficiencies, and that there is no quick fix.

The group says, since no one knows how the levees will hold up in a hurricane, there is only one recourse, if a major storm bears down on the city.

TOM JACKSON, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS: And I think it's so important that the leadership of this area proceed in a calm fashion in an orderly evacuation, if it becomes necessary, in order to protect life and safety.

CALLEBS: This year, neither the Superdome, nor the Convention Center will be used as shelters of last resort. New Orleans does have 1,800 busses on standby, and 47 Amtrak trains to ferry people to safety this year, a way to prevent a repeat of these horrific scenes.

People here know, it's not a question of if another hurricane hits, but when. And, at this point, residents say, no one knows how New Orleans will handle it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a big unknown. And that's real scary.


CALLEBS: Well, what we can tell you is known, we're in the Lakeview area. And you can see behind me just one of the many homes devastated, the yard overgrown, trees down on the roofs.

But what, really, Carol, I wanted to show you, it's kind of a tale of two different areas. Look here. There is a neighborhood gathering. There are some 50 people out here right now. These are springing up all over the Lakeview area.

There are parties to welcome people back to the neighborhood, as they try and rebuild. They believe the governments, the city, state, federal, have let them down. So, they are turning to each other, trying to get this area rebuilt.

But they all know they could be evacuating, if Ernesto threatens this area. We have talked to a lot of them. They have got their bags packed. And a lot of them are ready to go, if, indeed it does threaten this region.

COSTELLO: Well -- well, you know, it's kind of disturbing, when you have engineers saying, well -- well, yes, it's kind of like the same way it was a year ago. I mean, that's impossible to believe. You would think they would make it better.

CALLEBS: Well, it was an awful lot of work to do in a short period of time. Nobody thought they could bring this area up to Category 3, 4, or 5 level protection in just eight months.

But the Corps also has billions of dollars sitting in front of them that they're supposed to be using right now to bolster the levee system, to continue work. What some people are concerned about is that the Corps is kind of backsliding, got back into this mentality that kind of plagues them, that they work very slowly, very methodically.

And this area needs work, and it needs it now.

COSTELLO: Sean Callebs, reporting live from near New Orleans, thanks.

Coming up, we have got several other top stories we're following tonight, including the latest development in the JonBenet Ramsey case, and the tense countdown for the two men in the hands of terrorists.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Two journalists held hostage in the Middle East, as time runs out, Muslim leaders call for their release, and so do their families. Is there any movement behind the scenes?

Plus: A segregated survivor provokes a furious controversy. Will viewers vote this one right off the television schedule? -- all that and more just ahead.



COSTELLO: Our "Top Story" coverage turns now to the new developments in the JonBenet Ramsey investigation.

Today, authorities set a date for suspect John Mark Karr's first appearance in a Colorado court.

Susan Candiotti joins us now live from Boulder with more on that.


This from Boulder, Colorado, from the court, just a little while ago -- the court has imposed what amounts to pretty much a gag order, asking that all parties concerned with the case limit their comments to anything that would not possibly prejudice the possibility of this man getting a fair trial.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): John Karr spent his first full day in Boulder behind bars, and won't see the outside again until he walks into a courtroom Monday. SETH TEMIN, COLORADO PUBLIC DEFENSE'S OFFICE: Mr. Karr has asked that the Colorado public defender represent him.

CANDIOTTI: Public defender Seth Temin has already spent hours with his new client, and made his first legal maneuvers. He's asking to keep Karr's handwriting on any new documents under court seal, like this recent signature on his extradition papers and now found on a new handwritten application to prove he can't pay for a private lawyer.

Legal experts say the defense wants to force investigators to go to court to get more handwriting samples from Karr to compare with JonBenet Ramsey's ransom note.

Meanwhile, questions remain over whether Karr could have been in JonBenet Ramsey' neighborhood in December 1996. Today, his family again said he was with them every Christmas.

Karr's father and brother told ABC's "Good Morning America" -- quote -- "From the time that John had children, he has never missed a Christmas with his family. And that's any Christmas," said his father.

His brother Nate added, "If he was away from his family during Christmas, it would have been a family scandal."

If Karr flew from home in Atlanta or Alabama and back again with no one missing him, it would have been tough. CNN obtained Delta's 1996 flight schedule. To get to Denver to hide in the Ramsey house by 5:00 p.m., as he allegedly claims, Karr would have to, for example, leave Birmingham at 9:10 on Christmas Day, and arrive in Denver at 11:20 a.m.

Karr would then have to drive at least another hour to Boulder. Coming home after allegedly murdering the 6-year-old, Karr would have had to leave Denver at 6:40 a.m., change planes in Cincinnati, and get back to Alabama at 1:40 in the afternoon.

Overall, he would have been away if his family for about 30 hours, most of it on Christmas Day.

BOB GRANT, FORMER ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The answer in this case comes from the DNA. If the DNA is his DNA, then he was in that basement on that night, no matter what family says. If it's not his DNA, then the prosecution's going to have to explain why they believe he was in Boulder at that time.

CANDIOTTI: Again, whether Karr's DNA matches appears to be the key.


COSTELLO: All right, so, let's talk about the DNA.

Was a sample taken in Colorado?

CANDIOTTI: Well, apparently not yet. This word now just a little while ago from the attorney who represents John Karr -- he left after another long visit with his client. He has filed a court motion, asking the court to prevent any additional samples being taken from John Mark Karr without a court order.

And he has asked the court that the court disallow any samples that might have been taken previously, Carol. So, again, it will take a court order, apparently, before DNA will be taken from him here.

COSTELLO: Fascinating.

Susan Candiotti, reporting live for us tonight, thanks.

Our "Top Story" coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey killing turns now to the worldwide obsession with the case. After years of cold leads and dead ends, the mystery surrounding the death of a young girl has not lost its ability to shock and amaze.

As our Jason Carroll found, it's a story that has taken on a life of its own.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a crime that spawned a media obsession a decade ago, movies, countless articles, and hundreds of books theorizing who killed JonBenet Ramsey.

Now, with the arrest John Mark Karr, the coverage is again in overdrive. So, too, are some of those who have been following the case.

DAN ABRAMS, MSNBC GENERAL MANAGER: ... coming out of the woodwork.


CARROLL: This stay-at-home mom from North Carolina calls it her addiction.

JAMESON: Somebody says, you know, but you're addicted. You're addicted. Well, everybody has got an addiction, whether it's to their job, or golf, or going to bars, or -- everybody has got something in their life.

CARROLL: She will only allow us to identify her by her Internet screen name, "Jameson." Since the murder, she has been obsessed with the Ramsey case.

JAMESON: It started out just being an interested housewife, home schooled her kid, made my bread every day. Went online to see what they were saying about this news story, and got caught up in it.

CARROLL: So caught up, Jameson logged countless hours online, so dedicated to finding the truth... (on camera): This is a timeline that you have put together?

(voice-over): ... Jameson created her own 10-year timeline of the case, documenting every development.

JAMESON: I'm webbsleuth, W-E-B-B, for Jack Webb, "Just the facts, ma'am," from "Dragnet." Webbsleuth.

CARROLL: Jameson's Internet is so thorough, she has become somewhat of an Internet encyclopedia on the case. She says, reporters sometimes call her to confirm facts.

She has collected so much information, and has written with such authority, it caught the attention of Boulder police and the Ramseys themselves, who ended up meeting with her. The couple thanked her in their book, saying: "She was one of the few supporters of our innocence. We expected to meet just briefly, but it ended up that we talked for over three hours."

Authors have mentioned Jameson in several books. Her reputation is such that Jameson was asked to consult on four documentaries about the murder, and now has fans following in her footsteps.

DAWN PANOSH, OBSESSED WITH JONBENET RAMSEY CASE: We're online detectives. And we just follow the case. We -- we're so involved with the case, that we -- like to have it solved.

CARROLL: Dawn Panosh is a 19-year-old from a Chicago suburb. She became interested in the case when she was just 9. That was when she saw a news report on JonBenet. Since then, she has visited the Ramseys' home in Boulder six times, and has created three Web sites devoted to the case.

PANOSH: I think about the case every day. I read about it every day. And there's something about her case. Like, I -- I try reading about other cases, but I read about it, but I'm not as interested as -- as I am in JonBenet's case.

CARROLL: Dawn, like Jameson, believes the Ramseys are innocent. But neither are ready to admit John Mark Karr is the killer, because, although they want to see the mystery solved, they can't say goodbye just yet to their addictions.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Charlotte, North Carolina.


COSTELLO: Oh, but, wait. There is no need to say goodbye, if the JonBenet Ramsey is your passion, because TV producer Larry Garrison, best-selling author of "Newsbreaker," is representing members of the family of suspect John Mark Karr.

He joins me tonight from Los Angeles.



COSTELLO: I know you have laryngitis. And...


COSTELLO: ... I can probably guess why that is.

GARRISON: Well, it has been a rough week.

COSTELLO: It has been a long week, I'm sure, with plenty of interviews.

We understand that you have procured the movie and book rights to Karr's story. Is that true?

GARRISON: Well, the truth is this.

I'm here tonight. The family didn't want me to speak out anymore. But I have become part of the spin. And it's important for the American public to know that there is no movie or book. The family asked me to come in to stop the spin. And, instead, I have become part of it.

COSTELLO: Well, now, wait a minute. There is no movie or book, but there are reports everywhere selling the -- saying they want to sell the movie rights and the book rights to this story to raise money to hire a really good attorney.

GARRISON: Yes. And you shouldn't believe everything you hear on the news and everything that you read.

And, most definitely, if there was a story, it would only be if he was guilty.

Now this is, for me -- guilt by association for me.

COSTELLO: Now, wait a minute.


COSTELLO: Wait a minute.




COSTELLO: That changes the story a little bit. So, if he's guilty...

GARRISON: Yes, it does.

COSTELLO: ... there will be a movie and a book?

GARRISON: No. No. You -- you're misunderstanding me. COSTELLO: OK.

GARRISON: It's guilt by association for me. Because I am an executive producer in film and TV, and I went on as a spokesperson for this person, it's a leap now that a movie and book is going to be done.

Now, I'm sure, if he is guilty, there could be a movie or a book, but that's not why I'm here.


GARRISON: I'm here to protect the family from the...

COSTELLO: So, how...

GARRISON: ... false spin that's going on.

COSTELLO: How did that happen? How did that happen, Mr. Garrison? Did you call the family? Did they approach you?

GARRISON: OK. How did -- you're asking me two questions.

What happened is that someone wrote an article saying that executive producer Larry Garrison of SilverCreek Entertainment must be doing a movie or a book. And, therefore, they took the leap from there.

I spoke -- I approached the Karrs. And I agreed to work with them to protect them from the spin that was coming out.

COSTELLO: OK. So, you're -- you're there to protect them.

Give me your impressions of the Karr family.

GARRISON: They're wonderful. They're -- they are so family- oriented. It -- it's a true love story between brothers and a father and a son.

I, myself, watched them this morning on another station. And I have to tell you, they completely believe that he's innocent, that he was not there. They're sincere. They have been through all this pressure with the press. They have been totally sincere with me.

COSTELLO: Have -- have they talked to him?

GARRISON: I -- I cannot disclose that at this -- at this time.

COSTELLO: OK. And, again...

GARRISON: Because there's an ongoing investigation. But they -- they have asked me not to disclose that information.


COSTELLO: So, you can't say anything at all about any conversations they may have -- have had or have not had?

GARRISON: Not about that, no, I can't.

What I can say, and what they're asking me to say to the American public, is that they're stepping out of this media circus for a short period of time. And I will be also, so that we can digest what's going on, and do what's in the best interests of the family and also John Mark Karr.

COSTELLO: Larry Garrison, thanks for joining us from Los Angeles tonight.

GARRISON: Thank you so much for having me.

COSTELLO: Our "Top Story" coverage continues in a moment.

But, first, our countdown of the day's top stories on Nearly 17 million of you logged on to the Web site.

At number 10; The son of British Prime Minister Tony Blair is out of a hospital in Barbados. It has been reported that 22-year-old Euan Blair had stomach surgery, but the prime minister's office has not confirmed that.

Number nine: Three Mexican fishermen who were lost in the Pacific Ocean for nearly nine months are at home tonight. They say they survived by eating raw fish, birds, and drinking rainwater. But now Mexico's government is raising questions about their story and may investigate them for links to drug trafficking.

And eight: An Ohio teenager was shot in the head and seriously wounded while ghost-hunting with friends. Police say it happened when the teenagers tried to approach a home they thought was haunted. A man lives in the house. He has been charged in the shooting.

There's more countdown still ahead, plus, "Top Story" coverage of the hostage drama in the Middle East. The clock is ticking tonight for two Western journalists kidnapped in Gaza City. As a 72-hour deadline closes in, we will find out if there is hope for their release.


COSTELLO: Tonight, an anxious countdown may be nearing an end for two FOX News journalists taken captive in the Middle East.

Our "Top Story" coverage turns to the plight of FOX News correspondent Steve Centanni and his cameraman, Olaf Wiig, and a 72- hour deadline set by their captors.

Chris Lawrence is in Jerusalem tonight.

Chris, any good news to tell us?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There may be, for the first time, Carol. Our sources in Gaza are telling us there are -- quote -- "encouraging signs" when it comes to the work being done to try to get both of those journalists released. And that's important, because, right now, it's about 3:30 in the morning here.

They set a deadline of 72 hours from about midday Wednesday. You do the math, and that puts us within about 12 hours, roughly, of when their self-imposed deadline would kick in.

Earlier today, the Palestinian prime minister came out, once again condemned this kidnapping, as have other militant groups, such as Islamic Jihad. And there is some speculation in Gaza now that this group, the Holy Jihad Brigades, may be a renegade faction of one of the groups, that does not necessarily report up its command structure.

The two journalists were kidnapped at gunpoint on August 14. Until this videotape surfaced on Wednesday afternoon, there had been no word from them, no claims of responsibility. Now, when the videotape did come out, they said that they were in fairly good health, were being given clean clothes and food.

But, understandably, their families are very upset, very worried, and they have continued to make appeals for their release.


KEN CENTANNI, BROTHER OF STEVE CENTANNI: Our brother and his colleague are in Gaza to report your story, nothing more and nothing less. It is in your control to resolve this matter. I respectfully request that you let our brother Steve and his colleague come home to their families.


LAWRENCE: Earlier today, I spoke with a spokesman for the Hamas government. He said there are -- quote -- "no direct negotiations," but there are communications with various factions within Gaza -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So, a little bit more hope tonight.

Chris Lawrence, reporting live from Jerusalem, thanks.

More of our "Top Story" coverage coming up, but, right now, here's number seven on our countdown.

A court sets an execution date for Ohio cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren. He will be put to death in October. Lundgren was convicted of killing a family of five more than 16 years ago.

At number six: a seven-week-old cat who may have a future with the circus. Take a look at that. Lola, who lives in a Denver animal shelter, can walk on just two paws, and, apparently, do more acrobatic feats. Shelter officials say, she's able to do this because her hind legs are partially deformed. And number five, we covered it earlier -- Tropical Storm Ernesto gathering strength in the Caribbean, and may eventually head toward the Gulf of Mexico. Ernesto is the fifth named storm of the 2006 hurricane season.

Number four and three coming up, along with a startling look at life inside the Citadel -- 10 years after women were first admitted to the military college, a disturbing report on sexual assaults at the school.


COSTELLO: Our top story tonight moves on to a shocking new report on sexual assaults at a prestigious military school, the Citadel in South Carolina. It recently commissioned its own survey on sexual assault and harassment a decade after it first opened its doors to women. David Mattingly has more on the report's disturbing findings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, sir.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite the regimented appearance of life at the Citadel, it shares a serious problem with more conventional college campuses nationwide. Ten years after female cadets were allowed to join the ranks, 1 in 5 now say they have been sexually assaulted, almost all cases on campus and by another cadet.

LT. GEN. JOHN ROSA, CITADEL PRESIDENT: I was disappointed because I love this institution and we all love it. I came back here to make a difference.

MATTINGLY: New Citadel president Lieutenant General John Rosa took the unusual step of publicly announcing findings of a study, revealing frequency of sexual assault and harassment for women and men. But female cadets are outnumbered almost 10 to 1. They were five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, four times more likely to be harassed.

(on camera): Do you feel safe here.

TARA WOODSIDE, CITADEL CADET: Oh absolutely. I feel, I have never felt unsafe at the Citadel.

MATTINGLY: Citadel cadet Master Sergeant Tara Woodside is a junior. She lives in the same barracks, does the same work and is held to the same rigorous standards as men.

WOODSIDE: The order I have my bed in right now is our morning room inspection order. This is what it looks like every day.

MATTINGLY: Woodside does have a lock on her door. Men do not. It is one of the few changes made at the campus to accommodate female cadets. Woodside says she's never been assaulted, but she has experienced some harassment.

WOODSIDE: I think harassment happens everywhere. Of course you're going to get the jokes, the sexual innuendoes, the comments just by passerby. But I've gotten that also walking downtown Charleston, in New York, in Germany. So it happens everywhere. Of course it's going to happen here as well.

MATTINGLY: The school's definition of sexual assault might seem unusually broad. It ranges from rape to unwanted kissing. All sexual contact between cadets is prohibited, even consensual sex and that goes for off campus as well.

(voice-over): Students are expected to be familiar with the Citadel's lengthy sexual assault and sexual harassment policies, spelling out what is bad behavior and how to respond. But when there's a problem, female victims, according to the Citadel study, are much less likely to come forward than men. Almost half say they feared ostracism, harassment or ridicule from their peers.

PAULETORD JONES, CITADEL CADET: It's all about women in general. It's not just Citadel women. We're no different than women in the world.

MATTINGLY: These female cadets believe that by keeping the topic open for discussion, future cadets, women and men, will be less likely to become victims and less likely to keep it quiet.

KAT SHEPHERD, CITADEL CADET: It's no secret that women are a minority on campus. I think the schools is maybe five or six percent women. And when you have a minority, of course people are going to be timid about approaching such a sensitive topic and I think what the survey has done, it has opened up the floor for speaking.

MATTINGLY: And the talking will continue. The Citadel will take some of the time traditionally set aside for military drill to instruct all cadets on appropriate behavior. It's a values and respect program with the goal of preventing sexual assault and harassment for women and men within its ranks.

David Mattingly, CNN, Charleston, South Carolina.


COSTELLO: Much more top story coverage ahead.

First our countdown continues with number four. Number four, comedian Jackie Mason suing Jews For Jesus for $2 million. He alleges the group used his name and likeness on a pamphlet. The spokeswoman for Jew for Jesus says the pamphlet was, quote, good- natured and added that the comedian should not be upset by it.

Number three, federal authorities in Texas are questioning an American college student who brought part of a stick of dynamite onto a Continental Airlines flight from Argentina to Houston. The explosive was in the passenger's checked luggage. Officials say he told them it was a souvenir.

At least three other U.S. flights were also disrupted today by security alerts.

Numbers two and one when we come back. Also ahead, our top story in entertainment. A new racial gimmick on Survivor. The new season hasn't started, oh but the outrage has.

Also the dangers for teenagers who cannot stop playing video games, a compulsion so strong it can tear families apart and jeopardize futures. We'll explore this mystery of the mind.


COSTELLO: Fans of the long-running reality show "Survivor" know the show's motto, "Outwit, Outplay and Outlast." Well now the CBS series can add outrage.

Our top story in entertainment, the burst of controversy over the latest "Survivor" series, an idea some call appalling, disgusting and maybe even dangerous.


COSTELLO (voice-over): When "Survivor" returns in September, the grandfather of network reality shows will follow its usual formula: contestants competing for $1 million. This time they'll be stranded in the South Pacific.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty people divided into four ethnic groups.

COSTELLO: With that twist to its 13th season, the show's familiar tag line "Outwit, Outlast, Outplay" can add enrage.

DARLENE MEALY, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: So I ask you to boycott, boycott CBS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The show's just plain stupid. The idea is stupid. And it should be yanked immediately.

COSTELLO: New York City officials were among those blasting CBS and the producers for dividing competitors into four ethnic teams: blacks, Asians, Latinos and Whites.

GREG BAUMANN, TV WEEK: For the past 12 seasons, "Survivor" has been a huge buttress to CBS' ratings. Even though they've had a bit of a drop off, this is definitely going to drop people into the show.

What you have here is a really bold, brash, perhaps reckless stunt to boost ratings. Will it work? We'll see.

COSTELLO: If producers wanted to get people talking about the show again, well it worked. Talk radio's Rush Limbaugh got the buzz going early with his nationally syndicated show commenting on "Survivor's" competitive swimming events.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO SHOW HOST: I know what you're saying. You're saying I'm being racist. You're saying I'm being racist because I'm saying blacks can't swim.

COSTELLO: Discussions like that have anti-racism organizations concerned.

JEN CHAU, NEW DEMOGRAPHIC: That's what I'm worried about. I'm sure are there other people who think just like Rush, you know. And who are looking for those things. Yes I want to see that Asians outwit everybody. And I want to see, you know, the blacks who can't swim.

COSTELLO: The debate has clearly brought up old stereotypes that just won't go away. Consider this public statement by Florida congressional candidate Tram Hudson from earlier this year.

TRAM HUDSON, FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I grew up in Alabama. I understand, I then from my own experience that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know how to swim.

COSTELLO: CBS defending the ethnic twist, says "Survivor" is a program is no stranger to controversy and has always answered its critics on the screen.

BAUMANN: They are getting more free advertising right now than "Survivor" has gotten probably in its previous 12 seasons.

COSTELLO: And with its ratings slipping in recent years, maybe the show's producers believe that even bad publicity is better than none.


COSTELLO: Guess we'll see.

Coming up at top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE," Larry welcomes supermodel Heidi Klum and "The Project Runway" team.

First, let's take a Biz Break.


COSTELLO: Now, let's wrap up our countdown.

At number 2, new controversy surrounding New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin. During an interview for "60 Minutes" he was asked why some parts of the city still weren't cleaned up one year after Katrina. His response referred to the clean-up at the World Trade Center site. Mayor Nagin said, quote, "you guys in New York can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later."

And number one, new details emerging about the escape of an 18- year-old Austrian girl held captive for eight years. Police now say she bolted to freedom Tuesday while her captor was talking on his cell phone.

Up next, a top story mystery of the mind. What happens when some teenagers become virtually addicted to video games?

And then, the new name on the Emmy award guest list the IRS. Those $30,000 gift bags the celebs will get on Sunday are now taxable income.


COSTELLO: Tonight's top story in health is a growing modern day obsession. We're talking about online gamers, people who are oft by themselves in dark rooms all day long finding armies and slaying alien monsters. Their behavior is an increasing problem. Some compare it to drug and alcohol abuse.

Here's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with tonight's mysteries of the mind.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's Friday night and Howey's Gameshack (ph) in Orange County, California is jampacked.


COHEN: Nate Looney is a regular here. When we visited, he played video games for six hours straight until 1:30 in the morning. And then went home and played even more until 4:00 a.m.

Nate's mother says sometimes her son plays for 12 hours at a time.

(on camera): Does he do anything besides gaming.

CORINNE ROMMERSWINKEL, SON PLAYS ONLINE GAMES: No. There are many nights over the last year and a half that he stayed up all night and didn't go to school the next day because of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to win round one.

COHEN: You might wonder, why don't Nate's parents just take his computer away? Well, they tried that.

ROMMERSWINKEL: He went crazy. He threw over the coffee table, broke a vase, ripped the security system off the wall.

Just to see your son that way, was so unbelievable. So we eventually give it back.

COHEN: Why did you have such a strong reaction when they said they wanted to take away your game?

LOONEY: Because it's my life.

COHEN: You know, your mother is really worried about how much time you spend playing games. You know that, right.

LOONEY: Yes. I mean I understand why she's worried. It's a different generation, it's hard for her to understand. She doesn't play video games. She doesn't understand how it works. And she sees me here sitting in front of the screen, and that's all she sees.

COHEN: Is Nate so addicted to online games that he simply can't stop? Is it beyond his control or his parent's control?

(on camera): Is gaming addictive in the same way that drugs are addictive, that alcohol is addictive?

DR. HILARIE CASH, INTERNET AND COMPUTER ADDICTION SERVICE: Yes, people develop a dependency on it and go into withdrawal when they're away from.

Let's go ahead and start group.

COHEN (voice-over): Therapist Hilarie Cash treats addictive gamers. She says brain studies make it clear why it's so hard for some people to stop.

CASH: There's a study that shows that, when you look at the Dopamine levels in the brains of gamers, it is very similar to the Dopamine levels for people who are taking speed. If Dopamine is elevated high enough, people can't walk away from it.

COHEN: Facilities to treat addicted gamers are opening up around the world. Just like with alcoholics and drug addicts, they have group therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My life evolves around gaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though I know that I should stop I just keep doing it.

EDDIE, GAMER: I would just log on and play for pretty much the entire day. Just became the focus of my life.

COHEN: Eddie had to drop out of college because he couldn't stop gaming. Now 23, he's unemployed and trying to get his life back together. He's so ashamed of his habit, he agreed to speak only if we interviewed him in shadow.

(on camera): Pretend you're talking to someone who's never played video games. What did it do for you that made you stick with it for ten hours at a time?

EDDIE: I thought it was just such a great way to escape from the problems of the real world. The game provides you with all these unique opportunities to do things that you wouldn't normally be able to do in real life. Whether it's role playing a specific character or playing it for the competition aspect.

COHEN (voice-over): But this whole notion that you can actually get addicted to a game is complete hogwash, according to Doug Lowenstein, who represents game manufacturers. He says the scientific evidence just isn't there.

DOUG LOWENSTEIN, PRES., ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOC: There are tens of millions, indeed hundreds of millions of people playing video games and doing so in a responsible and balanced way.

COHEN: He says if someone does spend too much time in front the computer, don't blame the game companies.

LOWENSTEIN: If the issue is, the parent says, gee, we think there's a problem. We tried to take the game away and our child got upset, so we let him keep playing the game, that's not what you do. You're in charge. The child doesn't run the home.

COHEN: But back in California, Nate Looney's mom says she's simply powerless against the games.

CORINNE ROMMERSWINKEL, SON PLAYS ONLINE GAMES: We've tried so many things, like rules getting off at 10:00, getting off at 11:00, after your homework's done. It's all kind of gone out the window.

COHEN: Are you addicted to this game.


COHEN: You could stop anytime you wanted?

LOONEY: If I wanted to. I don't think I'd ever want to, though.

COHEN: Nate rarely spends anytime with his family. He'd rather be in his room in front of the screen.

ROMMERSWINKEL: I mean him up there for hours on end and not eating and not really sleeping. It's been a rotten thing in our family.

COHEN: Nate's mom says she doesn't really blame the game-makers, she just wants a way to bring her son back into the real world.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, San Juan Capistrano, California.


KAGAN: And there's this, experts estimate that 6 to 10 percent of the approximately 190 million Internet users in this country have some form of gaming dependencies.

Next, our other top story in entertainment, what will all of those stars do at the Emmys on Sunday? Well, they have to pay taxes for the first time on the $50,000 gift bags they get.


KAGAN: Controversy surrounding this weekend's big showbiz event is tonight's other top story in entertainment. In just about 48 hours the envelopes will reveal the new prime time Emmy winners, but this year, there's some behind-the-scenes action that has some winners, nominees and presenters worried because the IRS is watching.

Entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson has more for you.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: It's called swag and in Hollywood, it's a big deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have Yoga Works, the Sprint phone, On Top of the World, Dove Chocolate, Baby Style.

ANDERSON: This year's Emmy gift bag, like so many award shows before it, offers up a lot of swag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The most valuable cultured pearls in the world.

ANDERSON: But this year, those performers and presenters who accept the bag, which has been valued at approximately $30,000, will get a little something extra. Something from their friends at the IRS. Something called a 1099, a tax form.

KEVIN BROWN, IRS SMALL BUSINESS COMMISSIONER: We want to send a message, there is no red carpet treatment for the stars.

ANDERSON: Kevin Brown, from the IRS, says Hollywood swag has exploded in recent years. Last year's Oscar bag was worth at least $100,000, according to some news reports, and that's what's raising eyebrows in Washington.

BROWN: These are not gifts. This is income. Gifts are altruistic in nature. This implies a quid pro quo. You're getting something in return for the payment to the star or to the celebrity.

ANDERSON: Lash Fary, a veteran celebrity gifter and founder of the entertainment marketing company Distinctive Assets disagrees.

LASH FARY, FOUNDER "DISTINCTIVE ASSETS": I do think that these are thank you gifts. Yes there is a value to the celebrities, and yes that is a business perk. But let's face it, there are business perks in pretty much most corporations in America and I think if the IRS is looking to increase their revenues, they would be better served by taking a closer look at Exxon Mobil and Halliburton and these sorts of companies, rather than at the Haines Perfect Panties and the outfit in any gift bag.

ANDERSON: Fary is not worried about business.

FARY: That intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Madison Avenue isn't going to disappear just because the IRS made a press release.

ANDERSON: Others fond of giving away celebrity freebies like famed skin care expert Sonia Decar have no plans whatsoever to offer tax forms to anyone. SONYA DAKAR, SKIN CARE EXPERT: I never, never, never. I think it's insulting and I will never do it to my celebrities. I will give them whatever I want.

ANDERSON: The IRS has found an ally in at least one unlikely source, this year's Emmy host Conan O'Brien.

(on camera): What do you think about the crackdown on the Emmy swag.

CONAN O'BRIEN, EMMY HOST: Well, I think, why not? People are saying like Mr. O'Brien, a gold derby for you to wear? A gold derby. I don't want a gold. Please, Mr. O'Brien. So I say tax the hell out of those bags.

ANDERSON: As for the rest of Hollywood, the IRS will have to wait and see who claims the loot and who leaves swag-free.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.


COSTELLO: And that's all for tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines