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California Fire Doubles in Size; Remembering the March on Washington; Chemical Weapons in Syria; Anderson Memorial Begins; Reliving March on Washington; Students Drowning Under Loan Debt; School Shooting Hero Speaks Out; Traveling with Your Smartphone

Aired August 24, 2013 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. It's the third hour of the CNN NEWSROOM. A look at our top stories right now.

In California, a raging wildfire exploding in size and spreading inside the Yosemite National Park.

It has been 50 years on the East Coast since Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech and thousands today are gathering on the Washington Mall to celebrate that historic event.

And Marion Berry who was part of the civil rights movement joining us live later on this hour.

In California, a wildfire is burning almost out of control through parts of the state. The Rim Fire is burning so fast it has doubled in size in a day. The fire has also spread to the western edge of Yosemite National Park.

Nick Valencia is there and has the following developments for us.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the sun has come up here in the (INAUDIBLE) National Forest and it's given us a fresh perspective of just how devastating the Rim Fire has been.

Take a look at this. This charred out trees. This goes back a couple of hundred yards at least and it's doing things like this, scorching the earth and singeing the edges of these leaves here. It's been very unforgiving to the terrain. The anchorage is still quite high, at least 126,000 acres burned and it's been very unforgiving in its pattern.

You see here, the fire completely jumped over this road, scorched this, but left those trees over there in the distance untouched. We've seen multiple fire crews from local state and federal agencies trying to work to put out this blaze. And it's been eating away at the edge of the Yosemite National Park and right now at this hour that is one of the big concerns for those that are fighting the flames.

It is, however, a ways away from the tourist center of the Yosemite Valley. Right now they tell us it's still blue skies and very little smoke in that area. They're not discouraging tourists from coming, but there's a long road ahead for the fire officials that are working to put out this flame. At last check, only 5 percent containment. More than 2,000 firefighters working to put it out -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Nick Valencia there.

Dry conditions have been feeding those fires. Could any changes in the weather help them out?

Alexandra Steele in the severe weather center. Give them some good news.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we don't have much. You know, Fred, Nick's images were really good. You can kind of see with those Google maps with -- what's happening there, with the ridges and the canyons. Because part of this problem really it's a function of two factors, the wind and the terrain, with our ridges and canyons. So when air or wind goes through canyons, we call that in meteorology the canyon effect because that air is getting squeezed and then it's accelerating.

It's a similar and same principle as if you're ever in New York City or between tall buildings and there are narrow spaces. You'll know -- it makes your hat blows off because the wind really can kick up. And it's a very similar scenario. That's part of the problem.

All right. The winds are a factor. Sixty-six degrees. This is the current conditions there. Winds are pretty quiet but 9 miles per hour. Dew points up in the 20s or at 30 degrees. I mean that's low. The dew point is a measure of the moisture in the air and how the higher the number, the more moisture. And these numbers are incredibly low and dry.

This is what's going to happen. Forecast winds through the afternoon. These are sustained winds, mind you, so between about 10 and 20 gusts to about 27 miles per hour. So winds still where they've been. In terms of the rain, we're not expecting any. You can see how dry our skies are for the next five days.

And, you know, it's so ironic, Fred. Because look what's happening here. We've got a tropical tomorrow, bringing all this moisture and flooding in the southwest, but you can see it just doesn't get to where the fires are.

WHITFIELD: Boy. All right. Well, hopefully, there will be some relief somewhere in sight.

Alexandra Steele, thanks so much.


WHITFIELD: On Monday, a jury will begin deliberating whether Army Major Nidal Hasan will live or die. Hasan faces the death penalty after the jury found him guilty on all 13 counts of premeditated murder in his 2009 shooting ram percentage at Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan justified the attack because soldiers there were being deployed to what he called an illegal war in Afghanistan. Authorities in Washington state are searching for a second teenager suspected of beating a World War II veteran to death. Police are calling Kennan Adams Kennard a danger to the public. Another 16-year- old is in custody charged with murder.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will be out of a job beginning next Friday, but he's not out of the spotlight just yet. The mayor still faces possible lawsuits after 18 women accused him of sexual harassment. Yesterday, the city council announced his resignation. He apologized for offensive behavior, but he added he was the victim of mob hysteria.


MAYOR BOB FILNER, SAN DIEGO: Those of you in the media and in politics who fed this hysteria, I think need to look at what you helped create because you have unleashed a monster. And I think we'll be paying for this upfront to democracy for a long time.


WHITFIELD: Filner is also the target of a criminal investigation.

Today, thousands of people are gathering on the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Our Chris Lawrence is live for us now from Washington.

So, Chris, it's been an incredible day of speakers, Congressman John Lewis who was one of the original speakers 50 year ago, and then Martin Luther King Jr.'s son, his eldest son also took to the stage.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Fred. I mean, we spoke with one woman who was here 50 years ago today and marched in the original march and she talked about how overpowering it was to come back and see so many people retracing those steps.

I also talked to a couple of young people who obviously weren't even born back then, but have met people who were there and have learned a lot about what happened at the march through coming back here today.

I think one of the things that moved the crowd the most was when the Representative John Lewis took to the stage and talked about his own experience of being the youngest speaker at that march 50 years ago.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right the vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us. You cannot stand by, you cannot sit down. You've got to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. Make some noise.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE: Obviously, voting rights, jobs was important 50 years ago and is obviously important to a tremendous number of Americans, even still today, but the issues that were addressed 50 years ago have been joined today by issues that weren't even on the table back then. Issues like immigration. The rights to have the gay and lesbian community and some other issues.

We're just minutes away from the start of the march now. It's going to retrace the steps of what those marchers did 50 years ago with one important difference. It's going to stop at the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., pause there, and then continue on to the Washington Monument -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll be there along with you, every step of the way. Thanks so much -- Chris Lawrence.

Meantime today, a community is remembering Christina and Ethan Anderson. They're the mother and brother of Hannah Anderson. Police say a family friend kidnapped Hannah Anderson after killing Christina and Ethan. We'll show you how that community is saying good-bye.


WHITFIELD: President Obama met with his national security team at the White House today to talk about reports of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government and now there's another claim. The Syrian government is accusing rebel forces of using chemicals as well. CNN cannot confirm those claims or the authenticity of these images.

Frederik Pleitgen is live for us now from Damascus.

So, Fred, what do we know about this latest video allegedly showing chemical weapons and tell us more about all of these allegations.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the video was actually reported to be shown in that place called Jobar, which is a fairly central place in Damascus but a place that's held by rebels. So I was actually in that place earlier today with Syrian government forces and some of the soldiers there told me that yes, indeed, that they believe that they had be subjected to chemicals.

They said that they were making a push forward. There is a big operation currently going on by the government. And they say all of a sudden, they felt burning sensations in their eyes and throat and a lot of the soldiers had trouble breathing and had to be brought to a hospital. Then later, of course, we saw those images that were aired on Syrian government TV, allegedly showing a stash of chemical weapons that they apparently uncovered today with chemical weapons in them, with antidotes with them, as well as gas masks.

It is quite odd to have something like this all of a sudden surface only two days after the opposition of course held the government responsible for it. It said it is nothing less than a massacre using chemical weapons here on the outskirts of Damascus, killing some 1300 people. At this point in time, neither claims nor the counterclaims can independently be verified. We can't get to these areas where this is going on because there's heavy fighting going on there right now. The weird thing about all this, Fredricka, is that there is a team of chemical weapons inspectors from the United Nations that are less than five miles away from where all of this is happening, but they don't have the clearance from the Syrian government to go to these places and check it out, and of course they also said safety concerns with these big military operations going on -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And, Frederik, you and Representative Angela Cain is apparently in Damascus today. Do we know if the Assad regime is going to allow her to investigate these chemical, you know, weapons alleged attacks? Or will she even get close to getting any kind of answers while there?

PLEITGEN: Well, that's going to be the big question in the next couple of days. One of the things that the United Nations has said and the U.S. is saying, as well, is that time is of the essence right now. When something like this happens, weapons inspectors need to get there on the ground and need to investigate this as fast as possible.

It's very difficult however in this current situation. The weapons inspectors have a mandate that allows them to check out three different sites in the north of the country that have nothing to do with what happened here on Wednesday or what happened here allegedly today. So they don't even have a mandate to check these things out.

So this is something where they have to go back to the Syrian government and tell them we want to check out these new places as well. The Syrian bureaucracy ever moves very, very slowly and of course they are also very distrustful of the weapons inspectors as well as the international community, so this is a very difficult position that the weapons inspectors are in. The international community is saying they have to get out there as fast as possible, of course they want to, but at the same time, they're dealing with -- very sensitive and reluctant Syrian government that so far is showing no signs of wanting to let them there.

And in the end, again, as we said, there is the whole question of safety for these inspectors as well. I was out on the front line in that district of Jobar today and I can tell you there was artillery fire, mortar fire going on, and machine gunfire, pretty much the whole time that we were there, so they would have to negotiate some sort of ceasefire between the two sides and make sure both sides stick to that ceasefire for the weapons inspectors to be able to go down there and check things out -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Frederik Pleitgen, thanks so much. Keep us posted from Damascus.

All right, back here in the U.S., in the next hour, people near San Diego will be attending a memorial service to remember the mother and brother of Hannah Anderson.

Christina and Ethan Anderson's charred remains were found in the house of murder suspect, James DiMaggio. DiMaggio is suspected of killing them before kidnapping Hannah and fleeing to Idaho. The FBI found him in Idaho and then shot and killed him. Hannah was returned to her family.

Stephanie Elam joins us live now from Santee, California.

So, Stephanie, services are about to begin roughly 45 minutes or so from now. Give us an idea of what's expected?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are expecting to see a lot of people turning out here in Santee, California, Fredricka. We've already seen here at the Guardian Angels Catholic Church, we've seen Hannah and her father arrive with some other family members. They're inside hugging other people who are showing up to pay their respects for Tina, as she was affectionately known, and Ethan.

You've got to keep in mind that it's been about three weeks now since these two family members were found killed in that property about 40 miles away from here in a very remote area to the east of where we are right now, and so with that in mind, the parents of Tina, who I spent some time with earlier this week, they really want to focus on the memory of Christina and of Ethan and all the joy they brought to their family and to remember them and this is one thing they wanted to share with the community -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And there have been so many reports that kind of dribble out almost on a daily basis. Even since the -- you know, the alleged kidnapping and the fire at that home and the latest involves DiMaggio's family and a DNA test.

Bring us up to date on where that is. Who instigated that and why?

ELAM: Right. It's -- you know, the more you look into a lot of family issues, the more you can see a lot of different connections. And it's no different here. We know that it's being brought by the sister of Jim DiMaggio. She wants to find out if he was the parent of Hannah and Ethan.

Hannah's dad is saying, look, they took my blood to find out if the remains of Ethan were in fact my son. This is ridiculous. The parents of Tina, who I spoke, the Britts. They said this is a completely ridiculous claim and they don't believe that Jim DiMaggio came into their life until Christina was six months pregnant with Hannah, so they're saying this is a side show and that it's about money.

And the sister of Jim DiMaggio saying that just a lot of stuff here doesn't add up, but as far as the Andersons and the Britts are concerned, they want to focus to remain on remembering Ethan and Tina.

WHITFIELD: All right, Stephanie Elam. Thank you so much. From Santee, California.

All right. It's a familiar name. Marion Berry. He was once the longest serving mayor of D.C. until that very public fall from grace because of drug use. But long before becoming an elected politician, he was very active in the civil rights movement.

I'll ask Marion Barry, now D.C.'s city councilman, about his thoughts of the anniversary of the March on Washington.


WHITFIELD: One of the most well-known figures in D.C. is Marion Barry. We're talking to him on this day of the March on Washington 50 years. Marion Barry known for a number of things, his lengthy tenure as D.C. mayor. That very public drug bust and then his return to D.C. elected office.

But long before all of that, the former mayor was quite active in the civil rights movement. Now a member of the city council, Marion Barry joins us live from Washington.

Thanks so much for being with us.

COUNCILMAN MARION BARRY (D), WASHINGTON: Thanks, Fredricka. Glad to be with you.

WHITFIELD: So, Councilman Barry, perhaps many people need to be reminded that you were very involved in the civil rights movement. You were the first president of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee and the first prominent civil rights activist to become mayor of a major American city.

So you've been a part of and you've seen a whole lot of marches not only just in the nation's capitol. But what is this 50th anniversary mean for you today?

BARRY: Well, first of all, I was here in 1963. But more importantly SNCC was born in 1960 and we were the vanguard that movement. We didn't think that SNCC corps, NACP Urban League was moving fast enough and we formed our own organization. We didn't have to worry about what we call the old folks getting in the way.

They were doing good work for them, but for us, it was too slow. So we came to Washington, from the south, trying to register people to vote and demonstration. John Lewis was our chairman who spoke earlier and he was scheduled to speak at the march, but when he got to the march and they saw his speech, the elderly said no, no, no.

WHITFIELD: In fact, there were some words in his speech that people objected to, right?


WHITFIELD: He would use the word revolution and masses and some -- you know, the elders in the group or leadership in the group said, no, that might be a little too strong. So he ended up including some other language, like endorsing President Kennedy's civil rights bills and dropping some other stuff, right?

BARRY: We were the revolutionary vanguard of the movement. That's always (INAUDIBLE) revolution. And so we felt right at home, using those words, revolution, masses of people, mass movements, et cetera. He toned it down just a little bit.

WHITFIELD: So then toning it down, though, at that moment, at that time, did you all feel like you were giving in or even watering down the message? Or, you know, did you -- did you find some common ground with that?

BARRY: No. John was determined to make his point in a different way. And he did. Because he expressed the aspirations and dreams of a lot of us young people. And black people, too. And white people. But we think it was wrong. My own feeling has been if we had not come to the accommodation, those of us in SNCC would have probably taken over the microphone in Selma.

But back to 50 years later, also at that speech, voting rights, voting was rarely mentioned.


BARRY: It was jobs and justice, equality. And voting rights and voting was not mentioned. Even though in Mississippi where I was working, only 3 percent of the black people were registered, 40 percent of the population and incidentally because of our work and working with other people, Mississippi had the largest number of elected officials, but now, we're here 50 years later and we find in Washington that more problems than it was in 1953. More people out of work, but more importantly, we went free in 1963.

WHITFIELD: So then I wonder, you know, you mentioned that --

BARRY: Now we need state hood. State hood.

WHITFIELD: Better jobs, yes, better jobs, better pay, was an objective in 1963. It would be a long time, though, before the civil rights legislation, voting rights legislation, would come about, but many are crediting the march to having to expedite that. So what are you hoping comes after this 50-year mark of this march?

BARRY: Well, the march did sort of spur us on and lighten our spirit, but we went to work the next week in Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia, et cetera, so what I hope this march will do is let us know the struggle is not over. There's still massive discrimination, there is still massive unemployment, there are still massive gaps between the white students and black students and it would spur us on to stop being so complacent, but from my point in Washington, state hood is my number one issue because we need to be free, as simple as that.

WHITFIELD: And we talked to Eleanor Holmes Norton earlier, who was the delegate, Washington representation. She makes it very clear and you see the bumper stickers all the time, you know, taxation without representation. But you know, Mr. Barry, you know, very to this day, many people still call you the mayor for life.

BARRY: That's right.

WHITFIELD: Even though you are councilman --

BARRY: Sixteen years and 31 years of service. I think I've earned it in terms of what I do.

WHITFIELD: You know, and you have done -- you've done a lot in the city.

BARRY: An incredible amount.

WHITFIELD: And you symbolize that incredible tenure. But you know at the same time, does it frustrate you or bother you that forever there's always going to be that association with that drug bust in 1990 and even after that humiliating and very public bust --

BARRY: That was 23 years ago.

WHITFIELD: And -- yes, but even 23 years ago --

BARRY: Twenty-three years.

WHITFIELD: -- people still remember --

BARRY: Wait a minute, 23 years ago and I was not convicted of one charge at the Vista Hotel. Nine of the jurors voted for acquittal. But I'm not interested in that. I'm talking now.

WHITFIELD: But -- I mean, yes, and then -- but how is it that even after that, you became mayor again, you became councilman again. Is there a way in which I guess to really explain to people or help people understand that kind of rebound, that kind of resilience that you ultimately do represent?

BARRY: It's your service. I've done so much for young people, for seniors, development of downtown. When I came to Washington '65, Washington was a sleepy southern town. Look at it now. We started the renaissance of downtown. Renaissance of our neighborhoods and so people remember the service and they know we all fall down or get pushed down or we stumble down.

Everybody in life if we do anything, going to have some storms in their life. It might not be drugs, it might not be divorce, might be a loved one dying. It may be financial. And so the thing about it when you fall down or get pushed down, is get back up. Now I say to people, when you're down on your back, look up. If you look up, you can get up. If you can get up, you can go up.

And that's my philosophy. God gave me a lot of courage, tenacity and people in Washington appreciate that. We were at the Randolph Institute yesterday.

WHITFIELD: All right.

BARRY: (INAUDIBLE) in the country. And when I walked in the room, gave me a standing applause because they appreciate my service. I love the people in Washington.

WHITFIELD: Councilman -- Councilman Marion Barry, we really appreciate it. And --

BARRY: We got work to do now.

WHITFIELD: Got work to do. Got work to do and appreciate your words and appreciate your memories of 50 years ago and your very lengthy tenure there as a public servant there in Washington, D.C. Thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.

BARRY: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: All right. We're going to talk about some college costs, why they're soaring and what students and parents can perhaps hope for. Now President Obama has a plan to help lower the cost of higher education.


WHITFIELD: All right. New York is a college town and hosts a number of elite universities like Columbia and NYU. And along with those elite degrees comes a pretty hefty price tag. The average college graduate is now graduating with $26,000 worth of debt and that number doesn't appear to be shrinking anytime soon.

Alison Kosik is live for us outside NYU this afternoon.

So, Alison, President Obama isn't happy about how much college is costing, neither are students and parents, but how does the president plan to change things?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, what President Obama's looking to do, Fredricka, is really create a new rating system for universities. So basically giving more information to the public to people looking to go to college. More than just the curriculum or what the sports program is like.

He wants to give information like what kind of debt loads students are carrying when they graduate or what kind of salaries graduates are making after their first year of school. So what the idea is to have this rating system and then actually tie the school's financial aid to that rating, so it's really based on performance.

And he's looking to do this because so many students are leaving school with debt up to their eyeballs. Case in point here, I'm here at New York University where the average tuition is $64,000. That does include room and board. But the problem is is that you see students leaving this university, the typical student, with $35,000 in debt. So the way things are going, look at the year 2034, by that year, a four-year plan at a public school would cost you $205,000.

So President Obama is trying to really crack down on that and trying to give a reason for Americans to find more value in the schools that they choose. Especially since you look at the average salary for many Americans is only $52,000. So what President Obama is trying to do is make these schools more accountable for what they're charging.

Here's more of what he said this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to create a new system of ratings for colleges so that parents and students know what schools graduate kids on time, are a good value for the money, lead to good jobs. Because right now, the ratings systems tend to just focus on what's the most selective school or the most expensive school or has the nicest sports facilities.


KOSIK: And if President Obama has his way, he would look to have that rating system up and running by the 2015 school year and then have that ratings tied to the financial aid that's allocated to schools by the year 2018, but Fredricka, that's going to be tougher because that part would have to go through Congress -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Alison Kosik, thank you so much from the NYU campus.

All right. Antoinette Huff -- or Tuff, rather, I'm sorry, gives a rather riveting account of how she talked down a gunman who walked into a school armed with an AK 47. You'll hear for yourself how she got the man to surrender.


WHITFIELD: President Obama says he'll invite Antoinette Tuff to the White House. She's the bookkeeper at that Atlanta area elementary school stormed by a gunman Tuesday. Tuff talked the suspect into surrendering and potentially saving hundreds of lives in the process.

CNN was there when President Obama called Tuff. She was right there in the makeup room right before an interview with CNN. The president tells our Chris Cuomo Tuff is a hero.


OBAMA: When I heard the 911 call and, you know, read the sequence of events, I thought here's somebody who's not just courage and not just cool under pressure, but also had enough heart that somehow she could convince somebody who was in trouble that she cared about them.

And, you know, I told her, I said that not only did she make Michelle and me proud, but she probably saved a lot of lives.


WHITFIELD: Wow, at the end of Antoinette's call to police was a 911 dispatcher who also played a key role in keeping the students safe at McNair Discovery Learning Academy safe.

Martin Savidge takes a look at the incident and shows us the moment when the two women met face to face.


Antoinette Tuff has become an inspiration for so many people because of what she went through. But she will tell you that she didn't act alone. There were other people involved and one of those was another voice of another woman, the 911 operator, and for the first time, those two got to meet.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): It was an amazing moment only on CNN. For the first time Antoinette Tuff, the coolest, calmest hero you've ever heard, meets the 911 operator who had been the other voice at the end of that emergency call.



SAVIDGE: Kendra McCray said like everyone else she was in awe of Tuff.

MCCRAY: She is a true hero.

SAVIDGE: The two women recalling for Anderson Cooper the horror of that day.

MCCRAY: She said, he's right here at the door and it's like I can see him through just her words.

SAVIDGE: But their fear was never evident in the 911 call that has riveted America.

TUFF: Oh, he just went outside and started shooting.

SAVIDGE: Tuff revealed the man's first shot was into the floor, just a few feet away.

TUFF: He actually took the shot to allow me and the other person that was in there to know that this was not a game and that he was not playing and that he was for serious.

SAVIDGE: She also knew the lives of 800 students hung in the balance.

TUFF: And he actually went to that door with the gun drawn to start shooting. Then I started talking to him and saying, come back in. You know, just stay in here with me. Don't go anywhere. Stay in here.

SAVIDGE: And so began one of the most frightening and fascinating negotiations ever recorded.

TUFF: He said to tell them to back off. He doesn't want the kids. He wants the police. So back off.

SAVIDGE: The scariest moment Tuff says was watching the man methodically load the gun.

TUFF: He had bullets everywhere, on top of magazines. So I knew when he made that last call that he was going to go. Because he had loaded up to go.

SAVIDGE: Yet instead of feeling fear or anger, Tuff said she felt compassion. Recalling her own personal heartbreaks, even contemplating suicide.

TUFF: I had been in that devastating moment when all of the things happened to me. So I knew that that could have been my story.

SAVIDGE: Just before her CNN interview, Tuff got another surprise, ironically, over the phone, from the president of the United States.

TUFF: He just wanted to let me know that he and his wife and his family was very proud of what I had did and everyone wanted to thank me.

SAVIDGE: Tuff gives all credit to her faith believing her role was part of a heavenly plan.

TUFF: I feel like I helped somebody in need. That God was able to use me. And it was an honor to be able to be used.

SAVIDGE: The suspect had walked in with an assault rifle ready to kill. But in the end, was no match for a bookkeeper armed with love.

TUFF: I ain't never been so scared in all days of my life.

MCCRAY: Me either. But you did great.

TUFF: Oh, Jesus.

MCCRAY: You did great.

TUFF: Oh, God.

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S AC 360: Will you just say to me one more time, "Baby, everything is going to be OK"?

TUFF: Baby, everything is going to be OK.


SAVIDGE: Antoinette tells this very moving story about how it was actually a sermon that she heard at her church talking about how God was an anchor in times of stress and difficulty. Well, it turns out that sermon was delivered the Sunday before this all happened. Talk about things happening for a reason -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. All right. Thanks so much. Martin Savidge.

All right, new details now about how information stored on your computer, even your cell phone, may be tapped into the next time you travel. We'll show you who's most at risk.


WHITFIELD: All right, today, we're taking an in depth look at the Internet security, including a potential risk when traveling. You probably pack your tablet and smartphone when you head to the airport, right? Well, it's no big deal if you're traveling here in the U.S., but if you go overseas, there are potential concerns.

Here now is Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Edward Snowden dropped his bombshell revelations about the U.S. government's surveillance program, his story took an ironic turn. He fled to China and Russia, nations long known for spying on foreign visitors. And those countries are not alone especially when it comes to your computer, phone and other devices. Many countries even allies consider them fair game.

MARK RASCH, RASCH TECHNOLOGY AND CYBERLAW: When you cross the border, you're going to be carrying a bag and in your bag you'll have, say, your phone, you'll have your laptop computer. The Border Patrol agents on any -- in any country around the world have the right to take all of the data off of that drive.

FOREMAN: Mark Rasch is a cyber security expert.

(On camera): Do people know that this is being done?

RASCH: Most business travelers do not know that countries have the right to copy everything that's on your drive and all of your passwords that access your mail, your e-mail, your files.

FOREMAN: So is it routinely happening?

RASCH: It happens all the time.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Whether openly or in secret from Border guards to Customs agents to free wireless systems at a hotel, all represent ways in which information can be grabbed from your electronics. The White House has acknowledged the threat.

OBAMA: We're going to have to work very hard to build a system of defenses and protections both in the private sector and in the public sector, even as we negotiate with other countries.

FOREMAN: So who and what are they after? Journalists and lawyers are targets for the contacts they have. College professors and students for their state-of-the-art research and business travelers because of internal memos, studies and trade secrets that other countries and companies want.

RASCH: They have economic interests in wanting to learn trade secrets. Business processes. New development. New information technologies. If they can shave a year off of designing a new airplane engine, they can save billions of dollars from their economy.

FOREMAN: Avoiding such spying is not easy. You can travel with cheap, disposable phones, encrypt everything, or better yet leave at home everything you don't absolutely need.

(On camera): And it is worth noting most of us in most of our travels will not be spied upon, but if you work in high-tech, the military or some other sensitive area, the odds do go up that when you go to see the world's sights, someone may also be looking at you.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right. Many of us know actor Rainn Wilson from his role as Dwight on the sitcom "The Office," but you may not know that he's using his TV fame to help educate girls around the world.

Wilson explains how he is doing it in today's "Impact Your World."


RAINN WILSON, ACTOR: Hi there, I'm Rainn Wilson, and together we can make an impact on educating women and girls all around the globe.

Phyllis, my sister like my dead great, great grandmother who died of stupidity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have years, Dwight.

WILSON: When I started getting well-known as an actor on "The Office," I got inundated by requests to be a spokesperson or do various things for various charities. And I had an opportunity to explore what was most important to me in my heart and what I felt could make the greatest impact in the world.

The Mona Foundation supports educational all around about 20 initiatives in about 15 different countries, including here in the United States. They target women and girls, and that's how you transform a community. They're the most at-risk population through most of the developing world. Targeting them to empower them and educate them is really the most crucial thing.

Also, they find grassroots educational programs that are already working but are underfunded and come in to bring the support to help those organizations grow and thrive and flourish and move forward.

Join the movement. "Impact Your World" at


WHITFIELD: All right, and this, no doubt about it, is a jaw-dropping sight to see. A sinkhole in action and it's inching closer and closer to a Louisiana town. The state says there's only one way to stop it. Find out what that is.


WHITFIELD: All right, it's a giant sinkhole and it's threatening a small town. But unlike other recent incidents, this one is not in Florida. It's actually in the Louisiana bayou, and it has forced hundreds of families out of their homes.

John Zarrella has more.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first the trees are moving ever so slowly. Assumption Parrish officials were checking the site of what is now a 25-acre sinkhole south of Baton Rouge. Within seconds they noticed the cypress trees going down.

Watch this. Literally sucked under as the ground below them collapsed. The video shows the entire area suddenly swirling and the water churning as the trees are gobbled up.

The sinkhole, which first appeared last August, sits over a salt dome cavern. It's believed the cavern collapsed, causing the sinkhole. Louisiana environmental officials say the company mining the salt dome had abandoned and sealed the well in 2011. Tremors and bubbling began the next year.

At this point experts say it could still nearly double in size. Parrish officials say there's no way to fill it and only Mother Nature can stabilize it. The mining company, Texas Bryant, is working to mitigate the problem which includes the natural gas bubbling up. About 150 homes in the area have been evacuated.

One resident told our Ed Lavandera he thinks all the property around there will be worthless.

(On camera): Are you worried about what it means long term?

(Voice-over): While Louisiana folks are dealing with this massive man-made sinkhole, naturally forming sinkholes continue opening up in Florida, this time in Ocala, north of Orlando. People living around a five-acre lake say they watched it disappear in a matter of a few hours.

While it seems there's been an increase in sinkholes lately in Florida, experts say there is no scientific evidence to prove it.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


WHITFIELD: That's incredible stuff.

All right, we're going to be right back with much more in the NEWSROOM, after this.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Some live pictures right now in the Santee, California. This is the Garden Angels Catholic Church. A funeral mass is about to get under way for Christina and Ethan Anderson. You'll recall there the mother and brother of Hannah Anderson who was allegedly kidnapped roughly three weeks ago and then found with a family friend, the FBI ended up finding them in Idaho. The family friend, James DiMaggio, was shot and killed by FBI.

But along the way, investigators say before the kidnapping of Hannah Anderson, and you see those pictures right there of her holding a little child and then hugging everyone, that the mother Christina and the brother, Ethan Anderson, were killed by DiMaggio. So we're keeping a close watch on this funeral service. We'll keep you posted.

Time now for "YOUR MONEY."