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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

A Second Chance; What's in a Tiara?; Search Continues for Two Missing Climbers; Bigger U.S. Military?; The Emotional Toll; Serial Killer Suspect; FDA Calls for Stronger Warning Labels

Aired December 19, 2006 - 23:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARA CONNER, MISS USA: And I'm so happy that I'm being given this opportunity because I know that when I do my job, I'm very passionate about it.

And I guess one of the good things about having some kind of little troubles here and there is you're able to reach out to far more people.

And I'm willing to do whatever it takes, not only given a chance to have time to better myself, but to better me as the Miss USA. And I plan on walking out of this the best Miss USA that you've ever seen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The best gosh darn Miss USA you've ever seen. And why not? She's been competing in pageants since she was four years old. And while she still gets to hold onto her title, Conner, who turned 21 on Monday, apparently is going to enter rehab.

Jo Piazza has been covering the story for the "New York Daily News." I spoke to her earlier about the controversy and the compromise.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Jo, what do you make of this? First of all, what exactly was this woman, Tara, in trouble for?

JO PIAZZA, "DAILY NEWS" STAFF WRITER: Well, Tara was in trouble for first and foremost underage drinking, hard partying in New York City, and really just living it up in the public eye.

It's so funny, the girls who win Miss USA have these really strict requirements for what they can and can't do. They are not allowed to go out drinking or partying or smoking in public. They can't even really have a boyfriend or be photographed with him.

So, Tara going out every night and getting photographed dancing on tables, the pageant organizers just weren't having it. And we were pretty sure that she was going to lose her crown this morning.

COOPER: So, I mean, because you have written about this extensively, and you kind of predicted that she was toast basically. PIAZZA: I did. I did. I was wrong.

COOPER: And apparently Donald Trump kind of planned to dump her this morning and then changed his mind.

PIAZZA: Yes. Donald says that she was so convincing after telling him her story about how she was just a small town girl, moving up to New York and overwhelmed by the big city, that he took pity on her and decided to give her a second chance.

COOPER: I got to say, it was a brilliant move. I mean, I don't know how calculated it was. I don't want to be cynical or anything, but...

PIAZZA: I think we can be a little bit cynical.

COOPER: I think we can be a little bit cynical. It was just -- I mean, because if he had dumped her, you know, it would have been sort of expected. But this just adds a whole other layer to it.

PIAZZA: Exactly. I mean now we can't wait to tune in to see what happens after Tara gets back from rehab. It's just buying the Miss USA pageant more and more press time, isn't it?

COOPER: Well, and also, I mean, if she doesn't have a reality crew following her by now, it's only a matter of moments before they show up. Because, I mean, this is the kind of thing that reality shows are, you know, reality producers dream of.

PIAZZA: Oh, absolutely. You know, Donald Trump is a really smart guy and I am shocked that he hasn't thought to install reality television cameras in the apartment where he has the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA and Miss Universe living because, I mean, that sounds way more fun than watching the real world this season.

COOPER: Trump said at the press conference today that a lot of the allegations against Tara were false. Was he referring to anything particular, you think?

PIAZZA: I think that he was playing it very safe by just saying in general the allegations were false. They really refused to talk about anything except for the drinking.

COOPER: So, she -- she was living in a, I guess a Trump property. She no longer is, is that correct?

PIAZZA: She apparently moved out last week, but during the press conference today, Trump said that she can move back in whenever she wants.

COOPER: OK. And do we now how long she is going to some form of rehab for?

PIAZZA: They didn't say anything about rehab. The interesting thing about it was all during the press conference and in an interview that she gave after the press conference, Tara was adamant in saying, I'm not an alcoholic. I don't have a problem. I don't necessarily need to go to rehab. So we'll see how that actually ends up.

COOPER: And do you know how closely Trump and the Miss USA organization are going to be watching her from now on?

PIAZZA: Well, they say that they have the ability to drug test her from now on. And Trump said that she will have a chaperon with her almost at all times.

COOPER: Well, you know, it's fascinating. I don't know what else -- I think we've covered just about everything there is to say.

PIAZZA: I think so.

COOPER: But I mean, this is no doubt good for the Miss USA organization, right? There's no way the ratings aren't going to go up after this.

PIAZZA: Oh, the ratings -- the ratings have nowhere to go, but up, I think. But I think a lot more people are going to be tuning in this year than they ever have before just to see, you know, what kind of girl they're going to choose for the next Miss USA.

COOPER: Sadly, I think I'll probably be watching.

PIAZZA: I think I will be, too.

COOPER: Jo, maybe we'll get some popcorn and watch it together.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: OK. Excellent, Jo. Thanks.

PIAZZA: Thanks a lot, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, future generations are going to look back at this day as a world-changing moment, no doubt, when Donald Trump saved Miss USA. Truly, historic.

I'm told being a beauty queen can be a blessing and a curse. That's what Shanna Moakler says. She was Miss USA 1995. I spoke to her earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Tara Conner has agree to, I guess, go to some form of rehab. To your knowledge, has there ever been a Miss USA in rehab?

SHANNA MOAKLER, MISS USA 1995: No, absolutely not. No.

COOPER: Why did you get into pageants? Why do people -- what is the attraction, what is the appeal for people who get into it?

MOAKLER: I think pageants really get a bad rap. I think pageants, you know, they were made to help empower women. They were made for women -- most women who do pageants, you know, they do want to get out of their small towns, and this gives them opportunities.

For me, it gave me a great opportunity. I wanted to be an actress. I'm from Rhode Island. There's not a big booming industry in Rhode Island. This opened the door. I was Miss New York. I got meetings with casting agents, meeting with -- walk-on parts to soap operas. I got to move to Los Angeles, where I reigned for the year, and I got to meet with different agencies.

So it definitely put my foot in the door. But it should be used as a stepping stone. It's not, you know, the end all, be all of your life. It's just -- it's a stepping-stone. I think...

COOPER: How controlled are you, I mean, you know, is it every day you're doing things? Every day there's someone saying, OK, you're going to go this opening of a shopping mall, or you're going to go to this charity event? Is it an every day thing?

MOAKLEY: Absolutely. There's a schedule -- you are given a monthly schedule and everything is planned out and you usually travel with a chaperon. You tour the country. You do all these different events. You work with all these different charities. A lot of Miss USAs have personal platforms that they're trying to, you know, to work on, whether they work with politicians or Trump organization.

COOPER: And do you get a lot -- I mean, I know there are a lot of sort of prizes that come with it and, you know...

MOAKLEY: Absolutely.

COOPER: ... a year supply of makeup and stuff. I was reading some of the list.

MOAKLEY: Yes.

COOPER: But, do you get -- do you earn a living from it? Is it enough, I mean, do you put money in the bank from it? Or can you live off it for years?

MOAKLEY: You definitely could put some -- you definitely could put some money in the bank. And Mr. Trump has done a wonderful thing where he has kind of made like a modeling agency, so even after your reign, you can, you know, you have something that can take care of you.

But one of the great things is that you do meet a lot of amazing people and you do make a lot of contacts. And it's really up to the woman how she, you know, deals with those contacts after her reign.

COOPER: It certainly seems in this case no, you know, bad publicity is still good publicity in many ways for Tara Conner. I mean, most people...

(CROSSTALK)

MOAKLEY: Well, it kind of made -- it's going to make her a star. And I keep saying this, is that no one remembers who the Miss USA four years ago is. You know, but everyone's going to remember Tara Conner for possibly being dethroned.

COOPER: According to the "Christian Science Monitor," Tara Conner was asked during the pageant in April if pop superstars were positive role models. She told the judges, quote, "I think they're a little bit too risque. I think they need to tone it down."

MOAKLEY: Right.

COOPER: Why do you think it came to all this for her then? Do you think -- again, I guess it was just...

(CROSSTALK)

MOAKLEY: Well, I -- I think what a lot of women don't understand is when, you know, it's about the pageant. And I think a lot of women love the pageant. They love the show, they love the competition. And they don't realize the responsibilities that actually come with holding the title.

It's very easy, you know, to talk the talk. But it's different when you're actually in those shoes and you're walking the walk. And I think that's where she just got really confused.

COOPER: What's your advice for her?

MOAKLEY: Right now I would just, you know, surround myself with really good friends and family and I would listen to Mr. Trump. And I would go to rehab and I would start taking the responsibilities that, you know, I entered this job into very seriously and get very focused.

COOPER: Well, Shanna, I appreciate your perspective. Thanks.

MOAKLEY: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Shanna and Tara are in good company. Consider this, Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer and Imelda Marcos were all once beauty queens. Maybe Imelda Marcos isn't the greatest example. The title can open up endless opportunities. It can also open up a Pandora's box. And that's when people take notice.

Here is CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beauty pageants can be pretty ugly. And Miss USA Tara Conner isn't the first to learn that.

VANESSA WILLIAMS, MISS AMERICA 1984: The potential harm to the pageant and the deep division that a bitter fight may cause has convinced me that I must relinquish my title as Miss America.

KAYE: In what may be the most memorable moment of pageant history, Vanessa Williams gave up her crown after nude photos of her were published in "Penthouse" magazine.

Way before Williams, in 1935, another Miss America, 17-year-old Henrietta Leaver, posed for a nude statue in her home town. She claimed she wore a bathing suit while posing and her grandmother was with her the whole time. The press didn't buy it. But she still kept the crown.

(On camera): All this business about beauty pageants actually began as a way to woo tourists to Atlantic City back in 1921. That was the year after women earned the right to vote. It seemed like a good idea at the start, but over the years has been rocked with scandal.

A host fired for being too old, a contestant who ran off with her and a host who ran off with the chaperon, another who was disqualified for being pregnant. More than enough fodder to fill thousands of pageants that exist today.

(Voice-over): In 1999, the young married Miss Guam, Trisha Heflin, was disqualified from the Miss Universe pageant after doctors discovered she was pregnant. Oops. Something her representatives denied.

Three years earlier, another plump pageant winner, Miss Universe Alicia Machado was forced to drop some pounds to keep her crown. Nice, huh?

Apparently, even politics has a place in pageantry.

In 1993 at the Miss World competition, Lebanon's beauty queen, Ghada Turk, took heat for posing with Israel's contestant. A Syrian newspaper called for Turk to get home immediately.

Some contestants didn't have to be called home, like Miss America Betty Cooper, who in 1937 disappeared with her chaperon in the middle of the night. Cooper said she just wanted to go home.

And then there was Miss France or was it Mr. France? She fought off Internet rumors in 2001 that claimed she had been born a man. Miss France denied it. Pageant officials believed her, saying quote, "if there was a problem, it would have been detected in the swimsuit fitting."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Yikes.

KAYE (on camera): What do you say after that?

COOPER: Have there been problems with the swimsuit competition, I guess, for years, right?

KAYE: Yes. There certainly have been.

Miss America 1951 actually, Anderson, refused to war a swimsuit, which led to the major sponsor actually pulling out. Catalina pulled out. She refused to wear one because she said she didn't want to be looked at as a pinup. She was a classical singer and wanted that respect. So Catalina pulls out. Big controversy. Actually starts the other more sexier pageants, as Catalina calls it, which is the Miss USA and the Miss Universe.

COOPER: That's how it all began.

KAYE: Absolutely.

COOPER: I did not know that.

KAYE: A little bit of history for you.

COOPER: Yes. I think we've all -- we've covered this now. I think we got it all.

KAYE: I think we're done.

COOPER: I think we are too. Randi, thank you.

Along with all the pressures and potential humiliations, the title Miss USA comes with a list of perks. All right, this will be the last thing. Here's the raw data.

The Miss USA 2006 prize package included an official niki motoed (ph) tiara, a year supply of hair care, and a New York City apartment for the year of her reign, including all living expenses.

Well, in Oregon, the search continues for two missing climbers. Up next, three friends of Brian Hall on the scene, part of the search. We'll talk to them about their efforts.

Plus, many in Washington fear that U.S. troops are stretched too thin. Now President Bush is asking for more boots on the ground for the war on terror. We'll take at that.

Plus, After Jesus. A look at the early years of Christianity, part of a special "CNN PRESENTS," when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: These photos of Mt. Hood were sent to us by viewers. The first, from Phil Molee (ph), of Lake Oswego, Oregon. A view of the mountain near Hogs Back Ridge, about 400 feet below the summit.

Michael Rogers of San Jose, California, sent us this snapshot, taken by a guide who helped him and three friends get to the top of Mt. Hood.

Tonight, the search for the two missing climbers on the mountain has been scaled back and now there is word that three friends of one of them, Brian Hall, have decided to join the search effort.

Scott Herrera, Kevin Adair and Mike Sullivan join us now from Mt. Hood.

Scott, how long have you and your friends been searching?

SCOTT HERRERA, BRIAN HALL'S FRIEND: We got here -- I think it was Wednesday we flew in. So that's been six days.

COOPER: What's it been like for you?

HERRERA: It's been tough. I mean, this mountain is, it's huge. Tons of snow, tough conditions. We've been doing stuff that's safe. You know, I brought my brother-in-law with us. He's a team leader for the Haymas (ph) Mountain Search and Rescue Team. So, he's helping us, keep us out of trouble and we're just doing what we can do to, you know, to find our buddy.

COOPER: Mike, the sheriff has said that the big search is over. That's got to be a tough thing to hear.

MIKE SULLIVAN, BRIAN HALL'S FRIEND: Yes. I actually just heard it. From you. I had not heard that before coming on. So -- that is interesting. I still, I'm a positive person. I keep hope alive. So, I know that Brian is -- is out there, so we're -- we're doing our best and everything within our capabilities to see that he comes home.

COOPER: Kevin, have you climbed with Brian before? What kind of a climber is he?

KEVIN ADAIR, BRIAN HALL'S FRIEND: I haven't actually climbed with Brian. I know that he is a very good climber. I did some climbing in the Marine Corps, but that's the extent of my experience.

COOPER: Scott, what do you think may have happened up there? I mean, do you have -- are you any closer to sort of understanding what went wrong?

HERRERA: Yes. We -- we're a close group. You know, the Fred and the guys right here, and we know Brian like -- we spend a lot of time working together. And we've, we've talked about it. We've looked at what's happened. We've, you know, listened to what the sheriff said in the reports. And we think that, you know, Brian was climbing, or the group was climbing, and they summitted and they made an exit and due to the weather, somehow they got steered in the wrong direction, possibly someone was hurt. And Brian, just being the kind of guy that he is, probably took it upon himself -- I would imagine Nikko, too, to try to go get help. And we think the most logical place is somewhere between the two ski resorts or, you know, possibly the White River Glacier.

SULLIVAN: On the southern side of the mountain.

HERRERA: Yes. Southern side of the mountain.

COOPER: So, Mike, how do you spend your days? I mean, what's it been like the last couple of days with the break in the weather? What have you been doing?

SULLIVAN: We get up early. We formulate a plan the night before. We stick to that plan and be as safe as humanly possible and we go up and we search.

COOPER: And what are the conditions like up there?

SULLIVAN: The past few days have been great. I was stomping around in snowshoes in a short-sleeved shirt today.

COOPER: How many days have you been able to actually be up there?

SULLIVAN: Physically searching, I think we've done maybe four days.

COOPER: Have you guys talked to anyone from Brian's family? How they are holding up?

SULLIVAN: Yes. We just had dinner with them. I think they're holding up extraordinary well considering all circumstances.

COOPER: How long will you continue to searching?

SULIVAN: Until he's found.

COOPER: Well, guys, I appreciate you joining us. I know you got to be exhausted. You've been working around the clock. We appreciate you coming on to talk about Brian and the others and what you're doing. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

SULLIVAN: Thanks for having us.

HERRERA: Thank you. Appreciate it.

COOPER: Well, American troops appear to be stressed, the breaking point. Now the president wants to boost the size of the military, up next. The question now is, what does it mean for the war in Iraq. We'll talk to CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry.

And sure, your pain reliever works for your headache. But now the FDA wants to include warnings about the damage it may do to your body. What you need to know about what may be in your medicine cabinet right now, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The president has not yet outlined a new strategy for Iraq, but in an interview today with the "Washington Post," Mr. Bush said he has asked the new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to draw up plans to increase the overall size of the military. This, of course, could open the door for the president to send additional troops, at least on a temporary basis, to Iraq.

For more, CNN's White House Correspondent Ed Henry joins us now live from Washington -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Anderson. That's right. You know, on one hand, it's fair for the White House to say tonight as they are, that look, this does not confirm that the president is going to surge more troops up to 30,000 to 40,000 more to Iraq. That the bottom line is the military is stretched thin, as Colin Powell was saying over the weekend. And the president, on a long-term basis wants to do something about fixing that.

And the bottom line there is that Democrats about to take over power on Capitol Hill don't want to look like they're anti-military, so they're very likely to support a lot of what the president is going to proposes there.

But on the other hand, the White House can't deny that this could open the door to sending the surge of troops to Iraq. Because it could give the president the political cover to do that, because as soon as he -- if he does call for a surge of troops to Iraq, critics are going to say you don't have enough troops to do this. And then he can point to the fact, look, I've got a long-term plan to rebuild the military.

The problem there, though, and the big challenge for the president moving forward is that he's not going to have the Democratic support there, mostly because the Democrats have the joint chiefs of staff, the joint chiefs, the military commanders on their side here.

As you saw in this "Washington Post" piece this morning, confirmed by CNN, the joint chiefs are vehemently opposed to the idea of surging troops. They are not sure that that's really going to work.

And bigger than just the lead of that "Washington Post" story, talking about the opposition, when you go down to the third paragraph, about what is the reason for this vehement opposition. And it's basically that the joint chiefs are privately saying that after a month of consultations, they don't think the president has a clear mission now in moving forward on a new strategy. So they think that basically the White House is latching onto something because they don't have any other better options. That clearly doesn't put the president in a strong position -- Anderson.

COOPER: And it's hard to see this as anything but a huge repudiation of Donald Rumsfeld's entire strategy for the last several years.

HENRY: Absolutely. And that's where the president ultimately is going to have to answer for that. Because you're right, Donald Rumsfeld was there for six years. Not there anymore. His whole philosophy was, look, the military can do more with less, but naturally the Democrats when they take over in January are going to the say, well, what about you, Mr. President, you know, the defense secretary is gone. For six years you let Donald Rumsfeld push this philosophy, and it certainly looks like now it was a failure -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed Henry, thanks.

Some disturbing news tonight about the affects of going to war in Iraq. Suicides are on the rise among U.S. soldiers sent there. Today, the U.S. Army made public the results of a mental health survey taken a year ago. It shows 22 U.S. soldiers in Iraq committed suicide in 2005. That is nearly double the number the year before. The military is doing more than ever to treat the psychological problems that soldiers inevitably face. But still, post-traumatic stress remains an incredible struggle, especially for those who do not get the treatment they need.

Here's a story of one soldier from 10th Mountain Division in New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): An early morning last May in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a neighborhood wakes to a mass lockdown. A police sniper takes aim, a bomb squad stands by, and a S.W.A.T. team prepares to storm a house.

Inside, an Iraq War Vet Matthew Vargas sits alone, threatening to kill himself.

MARY LOU MUNOZ, MOTHER MOF MATTHEW VARGAS: That day he wanted to die. Matthew attempted suicide in my garage that morning. He had a cord wrapped around his neck. When I went in the garage, he was too heavy for the cord and it broke, and he was on the garage floor when I found him.

COOPER: Vargas' family couldn't believe it had come to this. After months of seeking help for him, rescuers had at last arrived, but they'd come with guns drawn.

MUNOZ: And I said, why are you here now? Where have you been? And then I started thinking, well, you are too late.

APRIL VARGAS, WIFE OF MATTHEW VARGAS: Who is that?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Daddy.

VARGAS: What's his name? Do you know his name?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No.

VARGAS: Matt.

COOPER: Five months before the standoff, home on leave with his family, Matthew Vargas went AWOL, refusing to return to Fort Drum in upstate New York, and from there, back to Iraq.

His wife, April, remembers how withdrawn he had become and why.

VARGAS: He just kind of just started to isolate himself. And I would ask him about it. And finally, he said that when he got shot, it just was an eye opener for him like he could never see his daughter again if he went back.

COOPER: It was a firefight after an ambush near Abu Ghraib. Three insurgents were killed. Private Vargas took a bullet to the chest. His Kevlar vest saved his life.

The family believes his brush with death touched off his depression and a diagnosis from the family doctor of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

When Vargas started isolating himself in the house, the family knew he needed help.

MUNOZ: He is only 23 years old, and he said that he was already dead inside. He would just say that he was a killer machine now. That's the way he described himself.

COOPER: Days before he was scheduled to redeploy to Iraq, his mother and wife say they repeatedly called Fort Drum and a local military chaplain, but Matthew's sergeant was blunt.

MUNOZ: Tell Matthew he needs to be on the plane and he better be back in New York. And he wouldn't speak to me. He wouldn't talk about it. He said, we've all been through a lot. And he just hung up on me.

VARGAS: I was surprised they didn't help. They are so quick to getting you signed up, telling you all the benefits. And when he was getting deployed, I had all these support groups. But when I needed help the most, it seemed like nobody was there.

COOPER: In an e-mail, a Fort Drum spokesman told CNN, "Vargas' claim that he was not afforded assistance for his perceived mental and emotional needs is ill founded. His chain of command was not given the opportunity to evaluate his condition and render any necessary assistance due directly to his willful and unlawful absence from his unit." The spokesman went on to say, "Soldiers who ask for help get some of the best care that can be had."

On the day of the armed stand off, Vargas' father, Marty, a CNN engineer, caught the first flight to Albuquerque.

MARTY VARGAS, FATHER OF MATTHEW VARGAS: I didn't even want to get on the airplane because I was afraid that things would happen while I was on the airplane and as soon as I got off the airplane they would tell me that my son was shot dead.

Matthew had told me once that he had nothing left to live for anymore, that his country gave up on him, and he felt maybe his family gave up on him, too. At that time I kind of felt that he was already emotionally dead.

COOPER: By the time Private Vargas' father landed, the nine-hour standoff was over.

ANSWERING MACHINE: You have one old message.

COOPER: There was a message on his voice mail.

MATTHEW VARGAS, SUFFERS FROM PTSD (RECORDING ON ANSWERING MACHINE): It's Matthew. I don't know if my Dad's in town yet or not, but tell him that I love him and I'll try to call back later today.

MARTY VARGAS: I think he had given up at that point. It was his good bye.

I think he needs to see that we're here for him.

COOPER: It was not Matthew Vargas' last good-bye. He surrendered shortly after the house was tear-gassed, walking out unharmed.

The following day, his family tried to visit him in jail.

MARTY VARGAS: I'm so thankful today -- I really am -- that he is alive and that we can help him now.

COOPER: In June, Matthew Vargas was charged with desertion, but ultimately convicted of a lesser charge, going AWOL. His family says he continues to struggle with depression. The terms of his discharge make him ineligible for unemployment benefits. Vargas might be able to get medical benefits, including counseling, if he applies to the Veterans Administration, but he's told his family he's not ready to take that step.

MARTY VARGAS: Well, we'll go in and see what happens.

I know that the rough road is not over for my son. I hope that the military will step up and acknowledge that Matthew does have a problem. And it's not one of fear. It's one of the psyche.

No, I think they...

COOPER: A Vietnam Veteran himself, Marty Vargas speaks from experience.

MARTY VARGAS: In war, you hear people screaming, crying. You hear a lot of sounds that you are not really used to. And these sounds and visuals come back to haunt you for the rest of your life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): Well, Matthew's case is obviously an extreme one, but post-traumatic stress comes in many forms and many degrees of severity. There is help out there. If you're a veteran with combat stress or know one that needs help, the Department of Defense has this 24/7 hotline, 800-342-9647. Or you can log on to militaryonesource.com.

The war in Iraq was certainly a major story this year, but was it the top story of 2006? What do you think? Answer our online poll at cnn.com/360blog. Right now, the Democratic takeover of Congress is leading the votes. If you think another story is more important, go to get online. Hurry, voting ends tomorrow.

It may not be a top story on this side of the Atlantic, but in the U.K., it is front and center. A second suspect now arrested, accused of having ties to a serial killer case. We'll have the latest on that.

And back here in the U.S., a medical story that could affect you. Some of the pills in your medicine cabinet may do you more harm than good. What you need to know about everyday painkillers, ahead.

Also tonight, after Jesus, the greatest story ever told, the beginning of Christianity. The history of the world's largest faith may surprise you, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, a wake-up call tonight for anyone who takes over- the-counter pain medication. We're talking about Tylenol, Advil, Alieve, Motrin. Today, the FDA called for stronger label warnings on the bottles.

Joining us now to talk about the details, Dr. Ian Smith.

Good to have you on the program again.

DR. IAN SMITH, MEDICAL AUTHOR: Good to see you, Anderson.

COOPER: What are the dangers with these medications?

SMITH: Well, the dangers have been known for some time actually. You know, about 200 million Americans, two-thirds of America, actually take these medications. And one of the concerns, however, is that with acetaminophen in particular, you can have liver problems. And so what they want people to know is that by overdosing and taking too much, you can have liver problems.

But also one of the problems that people tend not to realize that you can also add on, there are additive problems. So they want them to have stronger warnings. They want them to say, number one, that these products contain acetaminophen. They also want them to say what these particular cautions should be.

For -- that's the acetaminophen. For the non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs that you mentioned, things such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, they want them to also talk about the cause or potential cause of bleeding. And that's a major problem.

COOPER: Internal bleeding?

SMITH: Internal bleeding. So, what they want the warnings now to say is that if you are someone who has a -- you're over the age of 60, you have a history of stomach bleeding, you are taking multiple drugs; or you're someone who takes three drinks a day or more, then you should be careful of this.

COOPER: So when -- I mean, you know, on a lot of these labels it will say, look, don't take more than four in a 24-hour period, or whatever it is. That's really serious. I mean, I've always sort of used that as a loose guideline.

SMITH: It is very serious. And here is the problem. Let's get it clear. These are particularly safe drugs when used properly. The problems that any drug, whether it's over the counter or prescription, carries a side effect. And people look at over-the-counter drugs like M&Ms, it doesn't matter how many they take. That's a problem. When you overdose, whether intentionally or on purpose or unintentionally, then you can have problems.

And here's the key, though. People tend to double up. That means that if you are taking an over-the-counter drug as well as a prescription drug, and it has some of these things like acetaminophen or acidasalic (ph) acid, you can actually increase your risk of these problems.

COOPER: And not even know it. And is it true that, I mean, there are thousands of deaths every year from this?

SMITH: There are thousands of deaths, but let's put that in perspective. If you have 200 million people using them a year, you have about 150,000 people who are hospitalized because of them, but you have several thousands deaths. Relatively speaking, that's not a major number unless you are one of them.

COOPER: Why put the labels on now though? I mean, these things have been around for so long.

SMITH: That's a great question. We've known for a long time that they things can cause organ damage. But because they are becoming so popular in the general population, they want people to understand that even these over-the-counter medications can carry a risk and you need to know that.

So, you know, I think it's important to do it now. You're right. We could have done it before. But I think what's more important than the warnings are people to understand that over-the-counter drugs have side effects just like prescription medications and you have to be careful.

COOPER: And for what you have in your medicine cabinet right now, even though it doesn't have the new warning labels on it, follow the directions very carefully.

SMITH: You must follow directions and be careful of doubling up. That is, taking one from one group and one from another group.

COOPER: Great advice. Dr. Ian Smith, thanks. Appreciate it.

Across the Atlantic, fear is gripping in an English town as police try to solve a serial killer case. A second arrest has been made, but many are wondering if police actually caught their man.

Plus, with Christmas just days away, we look at the birth of Christianity. A look at the world's biggest religion, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Earlier, we told you about the search for a serial killer in Atlantic City. Well, an ocean away, in Ipswich, England, police are facing the same grizzly challenge. What many are wondering is will investigators find the killer before he strikes again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Paula Clennell explains why she kept working the streets even though she knew a serial killer was targeting prostitutes in her town.

VOICE OF PAULA CLENNELL, VICTIM: I need the money, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite the dangers?

CLENNELL: Well, that has made me a bit wary about getting into cars.

COOPER: That was the last known video of Paula Clennell. Her body was found seven days ago, one of five victims in one of the worst serial killings in Britain's history.

But in the small town of Ipswich, police appear to be closing in.

STEWART GULL, DETECTIVE CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT: A 48-year-old man was arrested at his home address in Ipswich at approximately 5:00 a.m. this morning.

COOPER: The second arrest in just two days. Police haven't released either man's name. The suspect arrested yesterday is believed to be Tom Stephens, a 37-year-old local supermarket worker shown here in pictures he posted on myspace.com.

Just days ago, he told British media he was a client and a friend of the five victims, all of whom were prostitutes.

VOICE OF TOM STEPHENS, SUSPECT: I wanted sex because I was paying for it but I know that I also, I wanted to chat with the girls before and after, which is partly why I was always happy to give them a lift.

COOPER: Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls, Paula Clennell. The youngest was 19, the oldest 29. Their naked bodies found over 11 days, dumped in the countryside south of Ipswich, the last thing anyone here expected.

JOHN O'CONNOR, FORMER SCOTLAND YARD OFFICER: Murders are unique. I mean, to get five murders in such a short space of time in what is really a quiet remote area is very unusual.

COOPER: Tania Nicol was the first to disappear. Her body was found December 8.

JIM DUELL, TANIA NICOL'S FATHER: Tania was a lovely daughter. She was a caring, loving, sensitive girl who would never hurt anyone.

COOPER: One by one, the women were reported missing. It's not clear how or even where the women were killed. Investigators are waiting for toxicology reports as they gather evidence and search for clues. What they found so far is too close to home for some. This woman knew the victims and one of the suspects now in custody.

LOU, IPSWICH PROSTITUTE: I could have slept with a serial killer. I mean, I've actually done business with man.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): Well, with Christmas just days away, a lot of Christians are now thinking about the history of their faith. Up next, After Jesus, a look at the beginnings of the world's largest religion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Millions of Americans are going to celebrate Christmas on Monday. There are an estimated 2 billion Christians throughout the world. The history and growth of their faith, the world's largest, is the subject of a special "CNN PRESENTS" "After Jesus: The First Christians."

Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Christian communities took hold around the Mediterranean, women were critical in spreading and nurturing the new faith. But now, at the beginning of the second century, a hierarchy develops and its face is male.

PROFESSOR BART EHRMAN, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: Eventually, Christianity came to oppress women and to silence women. And so throughout history, of course, Christianity has been known as a male religion in that only the leader, only the men can be leaders of the churches. Only men can be the priests or the pastors or the pope.

But in the early days, Christianity was probably much more in tune with women's needs and the possibility of women playing leadership roles in the churches.

PROFESSOR JUDITH LIFU, KING'S COLLEGE,LONDON: It's a man's world. And it's a world where it's quite often difficult to capture the glimpses of women, and to catch the glimpses of what women, themselves, felt. On the whole, women don't When the women don't write in this world, they don't leave records of what they are doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a result, the few surviving documents we have are written by men of the church who drafted blueprints for church life and works, such as the didicay (ph).

PROFESSOR CLAIRE PFANN, UNIVERSITY OF THE HOLY LAND: The didicay (ph), for example, which is a composition that is titled, the teaching. Didicay (ph) means teaching. The teaching of the 12 apostles to the gentiles. And this is meant to be part to be the legacy of the Jerusalem and Jewish Christian community to help gentile Christian communities structure themselves. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Locked in the library of the Greek orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem is the single surviving copy of the didicay (ph). Written about 100 A.D. It is a type of how-to manual for early Christians that provides practical advice, how to worship, pray, baptize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

PFANN: How do you baptize? Do you immerse or do you sprinkle? What do you do if there is not enough water? How do you handle the situation? How do you celebrate communion? How do you break the bread? What should you say when you have the Lord's supper? Very practical advice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The didicay (ph) provided structure for the earliest Christians. And with structure came power. And with that power, came the final foundation stone of what we recognize today as the church, the authority to define what is sacred scripture and what is heresy.

PROFESSOR AMY-JILL LEVINE, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY DIVINITY: Surely, by the end of the first century, the letters of Paul have been collected. The gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and likely other gospels, as well, had been written. But it would take another several centuries before the canon of the church as we know it today finally took shape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Different Christian communities had different gospels that they read during their worship service. Eventually, as it turned out, of course, only four gospels made it into the New Testament. And scholars are fairly convinced that these four in fact are the four earliest gospels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With dozens of other gospels circulating, how did church leaders ensure the survival of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is true that church leaders discouraged the reading of these other books and they didn't allow them to be read in the church services. But they didn't burn these other books. The way that you would prevent a book from being circulated in the ancient world was simply by not copying it. So the way to destroy a book was simply not to reproduce it. And that's probably what happened to most of the gospels that didn't make it into the New Testament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Armed with a hierarchy, a distinct set of beliefs and rituals and canon of sacred texts, the Christian church not only had structure, but had power. A clear and present danger to the Roman empire.

Christianity, attracting millions of followers, growing in its influence, extending its reach had to be wiped out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, you are going to see a lot more on "CNN PRESENTS" "After Jesus: The First Christians," tomorrow night, starting at 7:00 Eastern.

And be sure to stick around for a special edition of 360, "What is a Christian?" at 11:00 p.m., Eastern. We'll also, of course, be on at 10:00.

Well, you thought we were through with it tonight -- maybe not. Miss USA -- you know you can't get enough of it. She said she's headed to rehab. You heard her today in that heartfelt press conference. You saw the tears, yet the makeup didn't run. How will Miss USA deal with her personal demons? Ah, yes, that's the question, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just because we have a few minutes left, if you missed the press conference today from Tara Conner, the conflicted, I guess, Miss USA, some of the best moments -- well, there was this moment. Do we have it? No, we don't have it yet. We'll try to play it on the other side. We're going to play the best moment from the press conference in a little bit, but first Randi Kaye joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Randi Kaye.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can't wait to see that, Anderson.

It is no big deal. That is the feedback from First Lady Laura Bush today on why she did not disclose she had skin cancer surgery five weeks ago. Mrs. Bush had a tumor removed from her right shin. A spokeswoman says the cancer was detected early and the first lady is doing just fine.

An update on another Washington health scare. According to his wife, South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson continues to move in the right direction in his recovery from brain surgery. Johnson suffered a seizure last week, which was blamed on abnormal blood flow to his brain. He remains in critical condition in ICU at a Washington hospital.

On Wall Street, a record day. The Dow hit a new high, closing up 30 points at 12471. The NASDAQ lost six, the S&P gained three points.

And in the NBA, a big trade. Superstar Allen Iverson is leaving the Philadelphia 76ers and heading for the Denver Nuggets. The deal comes a day after the Nuggets lost Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer for 15 games for his part in a brawl on Saturday with the New York Knicks. Big sporting news tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: Certainly is. Randi, thanks.

Well, rehab and Miss USA are not words you usually hear in the same sentence, but they are certainly now. At a press conference today we heard them. We also heard what I think is probably the best sound byte of the day. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CONNER: I'm willing to do whatever it takes, not only given a chance to have time to better myself, but to better me as the Miss USA. And I plan on walking out of this the best Miss USA that you've ever seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And I believe her.

How is she going to deal with the personal demons that she talked about? CNN's Jeanne Moos has the story of beauty and the Donald.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She went from the beauty pageant runway to the New York City media gauntlet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tara, are the allegations true?

MOOS: Apparently some were, admitted a tearful Miss USA.

CONNER: I want to a apologize to my family if I put any disgrace upon you.

MOOS: There were things you never expected to hear coming out of Miss USA's mouth.

CONNER: I wouldn't say that I'm an alcoholic.

DONALD TRUMP, PAGEANT OWNER: She's agreed to go into rehab.

MOOS (on camera): Think of it as a New York Christmas story. A story of alleged sin and televised redemption.

(Voice-over): First, there were the stories of wild partying, underage drinking, and an allegedly failed drug test for cocaine.

Pageant Owner Donald Trump summoned Tara Conner. Her heels clicking on the marble of Trump Tower, while an army of the press waited. Trump got her side of the story behind closed doors, fully prepared to say what's written on the hats of his employees, "you're fired." And then...

TRUMP: Tara is going to be given a second chance.

CONNER: I've had a very big blessing bestowed upon me. And you will never know how much I appreciate Mr. Trump for saving me on this one.

MOOS: All of this in the atrium of Trump Tower, with tourists gawking from the balconies and press shooting from the escalators. And when the Donald delivered her from evil, there was a smattering of applause.

Tara stepped away and returned to once again don her Miss USA sash, an unexpected outcome. (On camera): What do you think he decided?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heave hoe.

MOOS: He kept her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See how -- with him, it is hard to tell.

TRUMP: Tara is going to be the great comeback kid.

MOOS (voice-over): Not since Vanessa Williams gave up her crown because of some "Penthouse" photos in 1984...

VANESSA WILLIAMS, MISS AMERICA 1984: ... that I must relinquish my title as Miss America.

MOOS: ... has there been such hoopla over a tiara.

CONNER: My personal demons are my personal demons.

MOOS: And though Tara kept her tiara...

CONNER: I swear, I will not let you down.

MOOS (on camera): Skeptics abound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are two things that don't work in this world of ours. One is anger management, and the other is rehab. She will be back.

MOOS (voice-over): Reporters wanted to know about stories Miss USA had been seen kissing Miss Teen USA.

CONNER: Katie Blair is a wonderful Miss Teen USA. I hate that she got dragged into all of this. She is a good girl.

MOOS: Good girls, bad girls. What would Santa say?

(SINGING)

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, don't forget, tomorrow night is your chance to enter the "360 Takes you Live" sweepstakes. Grand price, trip to New York and a behind the scenes look at 360. Here's what you got to do. Check out our new 360 Web site. It's cnn.com/ac. Watch 360 tomorrow night, look for a location clue that will pop up on the screen sometime during the newscast. The clue is the code you'll need to enter the contest. Again, the address, cnn.com/ac.

And we want you to help keep them honest. If there is a wrong that needs to be made right in your community, go online, tell us about it. The address, cnn.com/360.

"LARRY KING" is next. The latest on, what else? Tara Conner.

See you tomorrow.

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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