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Deadly Earthquake in Asia; Is U.S. Prepared For Bird Flu?

Aired October 10, 2005 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Did New Orleans cops violate the civil rights of a man they beat to a bloody pulp? The Justice Department now says they are on the case.
360 starts now.

ANNOUNCER: Three cops charged with battery, accused with beating a suspect, a 64-year-old man. The assault caught on tape.


CHIEF WARREN RILEY, ACTING POLICE SUPT.: Our officers used more than the force necessary.


ANNOUNCER: Just the latest trouble for New Orleans cops. Has the stress of Katrina become too much or are they just bad cops?

In Pakistan, desperate for help. More than 30,000 people dead. Many more injured. An entire city of 250,000 destroyed. Time now running out.

Two fugitive sex offenders living a secret life but finally captured. How Oprah helped.

In Florida, tourists become a target in the backlash over a new gun law. Who has them in their sights? Are they playing fair?

Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Good evening again.

We begin with late-breaking development out of New Orleans in the case of police who beat a 64-year-old African-American man on the streets of New Orleans over the weekend. CNN's Alina Cho is standing by with the latest developments.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, an FBI spokesman has just told CNN that indeed the federal government has opened a civil rights investigation into the beating of a 64-year-old man by New Orleans police officers. We are told that that investigation will be handled jointly by the Justice Department, the FBI and the New Orleans Police Department's Office of Internal Affairs. Now a videotape of the incident clearly shows two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punching the suspect who they say was drunk and who they say was resisting arrest. A third officer was seen later in the tape pushing an Associated Press producer, pinning him against a car before launching into a profanity-filled tirade against him.

The latest now today, the three New Orleans police officers arraigned today in New Orleans on battery charges. They have pleaded not guilty and they are suspended without pay. The beating victim, 64-year-old Robert Davis, will be arraigned later this week. He is facing charges, including public intoxication and resisting arrest. But we are told the Associated Press is told by his attorney that he was not drinking at the time of the beating.

We'll have much more, Anderson, on this, including what role race may have played in this incident, later in this hour.

COOPER: All right, Alina, we'll talk to you in a few minutes.

We'll also have an interview with the acting superintendent of the police, Chief Riley, a little bit later on, on 360.

Want to turn now overseas to Pakistan. Time is running out there. A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck over the weekend. Let's check out what's happening right now "At This Moment."

The death toll in Pakistan alone now stands at more than 30,000 people. A shocking toll. Close to 1,000 people have died in the disputed Himalayan region of India as well. As many as 5 million people are homeless right now, sleeping under open skies. Temperatures in the region are near freezing.

Their misery is not over yet. Much of the quake zone is inaccessible. The U.S. has pledged $50 million in aid. They've sent eight military helicopters from Afghanistan to help with rescue and relief efforts.

Those are the broad outlines of the story. Behind the enormous numbers are individual stories of despair, each one heartbreaking. In the town of Balakot, Saturday was a school day. Hundreds of children were at their desks when the earthquake struck.


COOPER, (voice over): Surrounded by the men of Balakot, a deep hole where a school once was. These men are digging with small tools, even with their bare hands, to find the heart of their town, the children. Outcomes a small body, a little girl, still in her school uniform. For her, it is too late. They don't know her name or her age. They just pull her out and put her aside quickly. There's more digging to be done, more bodies to find.

Mothers wait nearby weeping, mourning, some still hopeful. Most of the children here are thought to be dead at least 700 from 10 schools in this mountainside town flatted by the quake. Out of the hole and amid the rubble, there are backpacks and shoes, a school book, a clock that shows the time the quake hit, the time so many children died.

There is hope to be found in this hole, some children, a few, are found alive. First, a boy, stunned. Then another child. Some water and some hope. The discovery of these children alive gives this tiny town something to keep digging for.


COOPER: Just think about what you did not see in those pictures. You did not see heavy earth-moving equipment. No tractors. No Caterpillars. Nothing. People are digging out by hand. It is a slow process. It is a painful process. And it is likely to go on for days. Some of these towns are simply inaccessible.

More survivors were still being found alive, though, late today, including a mother and a two-year-old girl who were rescued from the rubble of an apartment building in Islamabad. Time is certainly running out. CNN's Matthew Chance is standing by in Islamabad.

Matthew, what have you been seeing?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, thanks very much.

Over the course of the past few hours, there have been some dramatic developments. Here in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, outside this 10-story apartment block that three days ago when the earthquake struck collapsed over its own courtyard, trapping countless people inside. Already its surrendered some survivors. Today there were dramatic developments. A mother and her young daughter pulled from the rubble. That's three days after being covered by the reinforced concrete when that earthquake struck.

Rescue teams have been working around the clock since the earthquake stuck in order to try and locate as many survivors as they can inside that apartment block. They're saying that they could well be many more people still inside and that's why they're still continuing their efforts day and night. You can see, it's very much nighttime here in Islamabad. They're still continuing the efforts to try and find any life signs to try and get as many people out of that building as they possibly can.


COOPER: Matthew, a couple of things. One, just I mean the building behind us, if you could just kind of show it to us, what are we looking at? I mean we see some earth-moving equipment. Is that the principle area they're digging in?

CHANCE: Yes. I'll just step out of the way of the camera for a moment so you can get a better look at the situation right behind me. You can see those heavy earth-moving machinery, they've started work within the last hour or so to try and really make some progress to cut through that reinforced concrete of that collapsed building, which you can see pretty clearly there. To try and get through what the rescue workers that we've spoken to believe is a or what could be a very large void behind that wall of reinforced concrete that you can see right there.

Inside that void they believe there is a possibility although it is only a possibility at this stage there could be as many as 50 people inside. Now it's not clear what is known about the status of those people, whether they're alive or not. But certainly there is a degree of, you know, kind of people moving as quickly as they can to try and get to that void, to try and ascertain who's inside, and if any of them can be survive can be saved.


COOPER: Of course, that's in Islamabad, so there is heavy moving earth moving equipment. In a lot of these towns, there simply isn't, as we've seen. I know you took a helicopter ride out to a remote region. What was that like?

CHANCE: It was at Balakot. You know I have to say that, you know, this apartment block collapsed here in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, is very much a side show compared to what's happening across the rest of this country and across the rest of this region. You go outside of the city, to the areas that are most affected by this earthquake that struck on Saturday morning, remember, and it's a very different picture, indeed.

The roads have been largely cut of by landslides and bad weather and things like that. Meaning the only access to those very badly damaged areas has been by helicopter. That's how we go there too. People absolutely desperate.

When we got off our helicopter, which was provided to us by the Pakistani government, we were mobbed by hundreds of people because they thought that we were delivering food and water that they could take away for their families. It was very difficult thing indeed explaining to them that we were journalists and that we didn't have anything for them. And we could only sort of tell their stories to the American people and to the international community to try and get some attention to them. And that was a very difficult thing to try and do to these people who were so desperate. They didn't want to hear that.

COOPER: And, Matthew, and to see those people, I mean, just hammering away at, you know, reinforced concrete structures with hammers or with other rocks, it is just it's going to be a long time before we know the full count of the death toll.

Matthew, thanks.

Hardest of all in such calamities, knowing for a fact that the weakest and the most vulnerable, meaning the children, always suffer disproportionately. Remember, Saturday it was a school day in Pakistan. A lot of kids inside those buildings. We spoke earlier on the telephone with Bruce Rasmussen of Save the Children who's in Islamabad trying to do what he can for the earthquake's youngest victims.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Saturday when the quake hit, that's not a weekend, that's a school day for children. So I imagine a lot of kids were inside buildings.

BRUCE RASMUSSEN, FIELD OFFICE DIRECTOR, SAVE THE CHILDREN: No, absolutely. Children were in school that day. We've seen many schools that have collapsed. Hundreds of children affected by that. You know, hundreds dead and missing. It's just a terrible tragedy for children and for their families, of course, in the aftermath.

COOPER: What are the priorities for you right now?

RASMUSSEN: Well, Save the Children has focused on getting immediate shelter and food into these areas. Yesterday we were able to purchase about $100,000 worth of tents and food and we're distributing truck loads of materials going up into these areas.

COOPER: I know a lot of the areas, and it's very cold, particularly at night and in the morning, you have people just outside. That's obviously why you're trying to get tents and blankets to them. Describe some of the scenes that your people are seeing in some of these remote areas.

RASMUSSEN: Well, they're just seeing people out of doors. We're seeing hospitals where people cannot be in the buildings and so people are just outside. We, this morning, dropped off 150 tents about four meters by four meters at a district headquarter hospital in Monsetta (ph) and helped to set those tents up and get people shelter. They were dealing with a large number of injured, you know, people coming in from the main the worst-effected areas.

We're seeing just masses of houses just collapsed. Whole villages in rubble. People on the move trying to get out. But disoriented and not knowing what to do and how to respond. You know, children separated from their families. It's just it's devastation and disorientation for people.

COOPER: In terms of bad things that you have seen in your career, where does this rate?

RASMUSSEN: I mean, this is the worst thing I've ever seen. You know, I've been here in Pakistan for many years and I've never seen anything like this. This is a terrible tragedy. But, you know, it's imperative that we respond quickly. You know, that we get shelter, that we get food to these areas. It's cold at night. You know, children are homeless. And, you know, the situation's only going to get worse later on. But if we respond now, we can help many of these children.


COOPER: Well, later in this hour on 360, the monstrous earthquake in Pakistan may have happened in precisely the part of the world where Osama bin Laden has been using as a safe haven. Could he have been affected by the quake? We'll look at that. Calamity on another continent now briefly in the world on 360. In Guatemala, north of Guatemala City in the town of Panabaj, digging may soon have to end in the mountains of mud that may have claimed a fifth of the town's population. Perhaps a thousand people buried in slides caused by heavy rain and Hurricane Stan. Authorities fear that it is not safe to continue searching the area and that the dead will have to be left as they are, graves of mud.

Still ahead tonight, how will we stop bird flu or any other deadly outbreak if the people in charge can't even recognize it? We'll take a look at that.

Also in New Orleans, an arrest turns into a beating caught on tape. Three officers now charged with battery. A federal investigation into civil rights abuses has just begun. We'll talk to the superintendent of police there.

Days ago they were fugitives, sex offenders living secret lives until Oprah Winfrey put their names and faces on TV. They've now been caught. We'll tell you that story.

And in Colorado, caught off guard by an early snow storm, the first major storm of the season. We'll take a look.


COOPER: Coming up tonight, bird flu. Can your local government handle a potential epidemic? We'll take a look at that.

But first, Erica Hill joins us from Atlanta, some of the other stories we're following right now.

Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, "HEADLINE NEWS": Hey, Anderson, good to see you.

We start off in Baghdad today. More violence to report in three separate incidents, six people were killed, four Iraqi policemen and two civilians. Now in addition, the governor of Naja (ph) province was the target of an assassination attempt but did survive. It happened when an improvised explosive device went off on the main road south of Baghdad.

Just how credible was the alleged threat to New York City's subway system? Well city and federal officials seems to disagree. But in any case, there were no attacks. And today Mayor Michael Bloomberg called off that high alert that went into affect last Thursday.

In Germany today, the United States handing over an historic piece of property. Since 1945, the Rhein-Main Air Base has been part of key U.S. operations, like the Berlin Air Lift, the return of American hostages held in Iran, and flying in wounded troops from the Middle East. As of January, the base will support the new Airbus super jumbo A-380, which is the world's largest passenger jet. And finally, a swim for charity in San Francisco Bay. This morning, Johnny Wilson swam from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park back (ph) 1.4 very cold, very windy miles. He avoided the sharks known to be in the waters, but not the press, parents and classmates who mobbed him on shore. And what makes it even more amazing, this kid is nine years old and he raised about $30,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Pretty impressive because I know I couldn't do it.

COOPER: Nine years old? That's incredible.

HILL: Nine.

COOPER: Wow. Good for him.

HILL: Absolutely.

COOPER: All right, Erica, thanks. We'll see you again a little later.

In Southeast Asia today, the top U.S. health official began a tour to call attention to the possible pandemic of bird flu in humans. That is a very dangerous scenario. Experts, of course, have been warning of a flu pandemic for years. And you know it would be reassuring to think that the people whose job it is to spot a deadly disease outbreak before it spreads out of control here would have spent the last few years preparing. Here's why you should be worried. CNN's Jeanne Meserve takes a look.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): An emergency room physician calls a public health department reporting a patient with symptoms of deadly botulism. He is told, I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. A caller to another health department describes bubonic plague. An employee there says, don't worry, go back to bed. The calls were part of a test. The results, sobering.

DR. NICOLE LURIE, RAND: We have a long way to go to train our public health work force to be a first line of defense.

MESERVE: Experts predict millions could die in an Avian flu outbreak. But, as with other diseases, rapid detection could help curb its spread and lower the death toll. That is why local public health departments are supposed to be able to receive information about a wide range of serious illnesses 24/7. But Rand researchers discovered that some aren't even answering the phone.

In 2003, they made a series of calls to nineteen public health departments claiming to be doctors or nurses reporting urgent cases of illness. Three agencies were dropped from the test after failing to answer or return five consecutive calls. Many departments failed to respond in 30 minutes as mandated by the Centers for Disease Control. And some took more than 10 hours. Only two met all federal deadline guidelines.

DR GEORGES BENJAMIN, EXEC. DIR,. AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH: That's not acceptable at all. Absolutely not. We now, in today's environment, we have to have 24-hour emergent contact in the public health system.

MESERVE: When the calls were answered, the quality of advice was sometimes poor. When researchers described small pox symptoms, none of the health departments suggested isolating the patient or using personal protective equipment, though the dangerous disease is highly contagious.

Since September 11, an estimated $3 billion has been spent on public health. If the tests had been conducted before that spending, experts speculate the results might have been even worse. If they were conducted now, the results might be better.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Might be does not sound like a vote of confidence.

Coming up tonight on AC360, snow in October? Say it ain't so, but it is. Take a look at that. An awful lot of it. Colorado is covered at this hour.

Also, a police beating caught on tape in New Orleans. Now the feds are stepping in. We'll have the latest developments. And we'll talk to the chief of police in New Orleans about what he thinks happened here.

And later, Oprah put their pictures on TV, and now some sex offenders have been apprehended.

Be right back.


COOPER: Signs tonight of just how bad this hurricane season has been. Since 1953, when hurricanes began being named, there have never been enough storms in one season to reach the letter V until now. Hurricane Vince is a measure of just how busy this season has been. Vince was only a hurricane for one day, having been demoted back to tropical storm status earlier. It is some 700 miles east, southeast of the Azores moving east. Not currently expected to hit land.

Tonight, parts of Colorado are buried under as much as 20 inches of snow and at least one person have been killed so far. The storm, it has shut down schools and highways. It may not have a name, but it can definitely be called nasty. Here's CNN's Sean Callebs.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): The Rocky Mountain region knew it was coming. But asked truckers, forced to put on chains for traction, an early warning only helps so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty horrible up here today. CALLEBS: In the town of Breckenridge, as much as two feet of wet, heavy snow fell in 24 hours. It was enough to chase away most fair weather tourists.

SCOTT MAGNUSON, STORE OWNER: The town itself, a lot of the people that were here visiting, I think, hit the road early yesterday to get out of town. It's a little quiet around town.

CALLEBS: Emergency crews have been busy on the interstates and other snow covered Colorado roads. Because of numerous accidents and dangerous conditions, I-70 has been closed along long stretches around Denver. Public work crews and police are trying to keep up with downed trees and power lines.

SGT. SCOTT JAGUSCH, BRECKENRIDGE POLICE: The snow that's fallen is very heavy snow pack, which has caused the main issue with the power outages.

CALLEBS: As inviting as the mountain may appear, there won't be any skiing for weeks in Breckenridge. The resort doesn't have staff in place yet. But locals say once the first big snow hits, that's it. Get used to it.

CHIEF RICK HOLMAN, BRECKENRIDGE POLICE: Once we start getting snow about this time of year or in the next 30 days, once it starts coming, we're going to be looking at it until May of next year.

CALLEBS: It may seem a little bit early in the season to talk about the first winter storm. After all, we're still in hurricane season. But really, it isn't. The National Weather Service says in a typical year, the first winter storm hits Colorado on October 15th.

Sean Callebs, CNN in Breckenridge, Colorado.


ANNOUNCER: Three cops charged with battery, accused with beating a suspect, a 64-year-old man. The assault caught on tape.


CHIEF WARREN RILEY, ACTING POLICE SUPT.: Our officers used more than the force necessary.


ANNOUNCER: Three cops charged with battery, accused of beating a suspect. A 64-year old man. The assault caught on tape.


CHIEF WARREN RILEY, ACTING POLICE SUPT.: Our officers used more than the force necessary.


ANNOUNCER: Just the latest trouble for New Orleans cops. Has the stress of Katrina become too much or are they just bad cops?

Two fugitive sex offenders living a secret life, but finally captured. How Oprah helped.

360 continues.


COOPER: Welcome back to 360. Here's what's happening "At This Moment."

Three New Orleans police officers who have been suspended from duty today entered not guilty pleas to charges of battery in the arrest of a 64-year-old man who's beating by the cops was caught on videotape. A police union official has called the actions of those officers justified given the circumstances, but acting police superintendent, Warren Riley, says the men used force beyond what was necessary. And the latest twist, the Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation. CNN's Alina Cho is in New Orleans with the latest on the tape and the beating.


CHO: Well, Anderson within the past hour or so, an FBI spokesman told CNN that, indeed, the federal government has launched a civil rights investigation into this beating of a 64-year-old man by New Orleans police officers.

We are told that investigation will be handled jointly by the Justice Department, the FBI and the New Orleans Police Department's Office of Internal Affairs. Now, we do have videotape of the incident, and it shows two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punching the suspect, by our count at least four times.

Police say the suspect was drunk and they say he was resisting arrest. Later on the tape, a third officer is seen pushing an Associated Press producer, rather, pinning him against a car and then launching into a profanity-filled tirade against him.

Now, the latest today is this, the three New Orleans police officers were arraigned on battery charges. They have all pleaded not guilty, left the courthouse today without comment and they are all suspended without pay.

An attorney for the beating victim, 64-year-old Robert Davis tells CNN that his client is a retired teacher who was not drinking at the time of the beating. He will be arraigned later this week on charges, including public intoxication and resisting arrest.

Now, there has been a lot of talk around here and around the country, for that matter, about whether race was an issue in all of this. After all, the officers involved were white and the suspect was black. The police chief, Warren Riley, tells me that he has no evidence to support that. When asked whether stress may have contributed to this, Riley told me that it is possible, but even if that were the case, Anderson, he says it is not an excuse -- Anderson. COOPER: All right, Alina, thanks. A short time ago I spoke with New Orleans acting police superintendent, Warren Riley. Here's a part of our conversation.


COOPER: You know, Chief Riley, it hurts me to have to talk to you about this subject because I know there are a lot of hard-working police officers in New Orleans who don't do this kind of stuff. But, when you saw this video, was it instantly apparent to you that this went overboard, this was excessive force?

CHIEF WARREN RILEY, NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, my initial reaction was, yes, that there was too much force used in this particular situation. What we base our physical actions on in any confrontation is that we use reasonable and necessary force.

COOPER: And in your opinion, from what you've seen on this tape and again, there is an investigation, this was not reasonable or this was excessive force?

RILEY: It was beyond reasonable, yes.

COOPER: What has happened to the officers involved, so far?

RILEY: Well, they have been suspended without pay. They have been charged. I know that those officers then, in fact, were scheduled to go to court, I believe, today. And I don't know what the outcome of that was.

COOPER: They've been charged with battery?


COOPER: And do you know what's happened to the man involved, Mr. Davis?

RILEY: Well, I know Mr. Davis was treated and released. I know he was also summoned to court. I believe he's scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

COOPER: Obviously, there -- some people will see this and see a racial component. The officers were white. Mr. Davis is African- American. Did that enter your mind when you saw it?

RILEY: Well, let me just say there is no evidence to prove that this was race related as it related to -- relates to this incident.

COOPER: Do you feel your problem -- your police department has a problem with race? I know there have been investigations in the past.

RILEY: No, I don't believe that we have that problem, at all. Certainly, incidents may occur, but it's certainly not anything that's prevalent in this organization.

COOPER: You know, there's also in the video this -- one of the police officers who grabs, I guess he was a reporter or a cameraman or someone with the camera crew, you know, grabs him, pushes him against the car, is gesticulating to him, is yelling at him. Do you know what that's about?

RILEY: All I can tell you is that officer has also been suspended for his actions, for physically or for grabbing the producer from that organization. I don't know what it was about. Obviously, he overreacted. What caused it, I don't know.

COOPER: How concerned are you about the officers you have out on the beat? The men and women of your force have been through unspeakable things. Are you concerned about them?

RILEY: Well, certainly I'm concerned about our officers. I'm concerned because of the catastrophe that we went through. There are 100 different variations of why officers feel the way that they do about certain things.

I mean, we're separated from our families. We're homeless. We have no cars. We've lost most of our personal possessions. Not me, personally, I fared out relatively well. However, we have officers that have gone through on atrocity that few have experienced.

As it relates to the organization, we're functional, we're sound, we're progressing every day and we're getting better and better and better. And there are many officers out here who are professional, who continue to be professional, who continue to do their job as a professional, who we are very, very proud of.


COOPER: And the investigations continue, now the feds are involved, civil rights violations.

Coming up, on AC 360 Oprah teams up with the FBI. Two outlaws have been nabbed already. We'll tell you what that's about.

Also, a little later tonight, Washington creates a new mascot to solve the energy problem. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the conservation swine.


COOPER: Talk show host, Oprah Winfrey has long been a crusader for the poor, the suffering, the voiceless. Well, last week Oprah took that fight to a new level. She decided to devote time in her program to tracking down fugitive sex offenders. She asked her viewers for help. Listen to the promise she made in that video.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I plan to work with law enforcement officials. If they tell me that you turned in one of these fugitives or were instrumental in helping them get one of these fugitives, we are exposing today or on our child predator watch list and that information leads to the capture and arrest to one of these men, I will personally give a $100,000 reward.


COOPER: Well, less than a week later two of the fugitives featured on her show have been caught, Niles Scott and William Davis, both suspected child molesters, both now in police custody where, it seems, they belong. We'll have the full story on just how these men were apprehended on 360 tomorrow night.

Not that you haven't noticed, but gas prices have climbed an average of 10 cents a gallon in the last two weeks, reaching an average nationally of $2.93 per gallon of self-serve.

So, joy riding is no joy now, but there is hope because the federal government has finally begun taking the energy problem seriously and you ask, how have they done that? They've taken the ultimate step, ladies and gentlemen, combating any serious problem. They've created a cute animated character for Americans to rally around. You think we're kidding? Take a look.


KATERI CALLAHAN, PRESIDENT, ALLIANCE TO SAVE ENERGY: We've kicked up the powerful savings and energy hog campaigns into overdrive.

COOPER: Ladies and gentlemen, meet the federal government's newest mascot, the energy hog. That's right, half human, half hog, he's a snorting, snarling pig of a mascot whose Web site claims he can suck the energy out of your home faster than you can say why did the lights go out, mom?

Think this is just the latest example of government pork? Oh contraire mon frere, this mascot stuff really works. Remember "Smokey the Bear?"

SMOKEY THE BEAR: Only you can prevent forest fires.

COOPER: Clearly a success story. There's also Dewie the Turtle, fighting for E-security. And my personal favorite mascot, Woodsy the Owl asking you to give a hoot, don't pollute.

ENERGY HOG: Hey, kid, what's shaking?

COOPER: OK. So the Energy Hog may not be as cute as an owl, but he more than makes up with it with his porcine aggression.

ENERGY HOG: Ooh, a snack!

COOPER: The kids will love him. He's even got interactive online games. And hey, there's not just one genetic mutated hog, no, the government has created a full pen of them -- Celvin Bacon, Ivana Ham, even Boss Hog. Who says our government lacks creativity?

Skeptics may point out that the energy hog was actually trotted out last year with little noticeable effect. But why dwell on the negative?

Welcome, Energy Hog. Let's hope the other government mascots are willing to clear a space for you at the trough.


COOPER: I like in the commercial, they actually Taser their own mascot. That's always a good sign.

From Atlanta now here's Erica Hill with a business news break. Hey, Erica.


COOPER: Still coming up on 360, the latest on the earthquake in Pakistan.

Also ahead tonight, visitors to Florida being warned of a danger in the Sunshine State. You get off the plane, and they're telling you about guns. Yikes. We'll explain ahead.


COOPER: In Pakistan right now in towns large and small, in places that even have no names, men and women are digging through rubble, trying to find their friends, their neighbors, their children. The earthquake rocked that country. And even now, three days later, people are just starting to dig out.

CNN's Matthew Chance is there.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By helicopter, we entered Pakistan's nightmare. The northern town of Balakot was home to 250,000 people. But that was last week. Now it's flattened.

On the ground, we were greeted with mayhem. Survivors believing we had food and water for their families scrambled for our bags. We had to struggle to get them back then explain we had nothing and had come here alone. It's not what people this desperate want to hear.

Where is the Pakistani army, he screamed? Why aren't they here to save us yet?

Days after this earthquake struck, the people of Balakot, what's left of them, in shock.

Amidst the rubble, the search for survivors seems increasingly hopeless, too. This was once a picturesque tourist town. Now they're dragging corpses from the hotels. The stench was gut wrenching.

(on camera): How many people still lie buried beneath this rubble is anyone's guess. Ask any of the locals and they believe it's thousands of people, some of them possibly still alive. But across this whole region, in the heart of the earthquake zone, whole areas are out of reach of the rescue efforts. And without professional rescue teams here, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to find any more survivors.

(voice-over): Pakistani army helicopters are arriving to ferry some of the injured to hospitals. But locals complain it's not enough. Everybody desperately wants to escape the terrible conditions here. Around the choppers, it's chaos. And for many in Balakot, what little relief there is comes to late, like Mohamed Hassan we found burying his family.

As the extent of this south Asian horror emerges, there will be more tragedy like this and far more tears.


CHANCE: Well Anderson, around the country there are these glimmers of hope amid that tragedy. One of these, of course, in the collapsed apartment building right behind me. But as that visit to Pakistan's northern area shows quite clearly, outside of Islamabad, in those remote areas, the areas most badly affected by this earthquake, the situation is very bleak and very desperate indeed.

COOPER: Thirty thousand dead, millions homeless right now. Matthew, thank you.

The disaster in Pakistan raises a question about one of the world's most wanted men, Osama bin Laden. U.S. troops and they're Afghan allies have been searching for bin Laden in roughly the same corner of the world where the earthquake struck. The question is, what has happened to him? Jamie McIntyre investigates.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Any speculation about the fate of Osama bin Laden has to begin to the acknowledgment that while U.S. intelligence thinks he's holed up in Pakistan, no one really knows. Saturday's earthquake was centered along Pakistan's eastern line of control. The dividing line between Pakistani and Indian zones of Kashmir.

The destruction does extend to the west, but not as far as the rugged border region where bin Laden is thought to have been given sanctuary by sympathetic tribal leaders who are largely outside government control.

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Most people in the U.S. military that I've spoken with don't think that it's going to make a big difference in terms of Osama bin Laden's capabilities in that area. They hope that it will, but they haven't seen any concrete evidence of that yet.

MCINTYRE: While the US and its Afghan allies have dispatched a dozen helicopter to aid in delivering supplies and evacuating victims, the U.s. military insists joint patrols along the border region have been unaffected by the quake. And U.S. commanders say the manhunt for the moment is taking a backseat to humanitarian relief. LT. GEN. KARL EIKENBERRY, COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. FORCES, AFGHANISTAN: Right now, the entire focus of the Pakistani leadership and the military and the people are to relieve the suffering.

MCINTYRE: While the U.S. and Afghan militaries continue to engage Taliban and al Qaeda remnants, after four years, they have yet to find Osama bin Laden, or for that matter, his deputy, Ayman al- Zawahiri, or Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Pakistani forces haven't fared much better on their side of the border, and don't expect the earthquake to shake bin Laden loose now.

(on camera): A senior defense official tells CNN there have been no indications bin Laden was killed or injured in the quake, or for that matter, even inconvenienced. But U.S. intelligence officials are keeping a sharp eye out in case he moves and gives his location away.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


COOPER: This country's resources have been mightily strained by disasters within our own borders; now once again another country is looking to the U.S. for some much-needed aid. Question is, how much can America do this time? CNN's Dana Bash crunches the numbers.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just two days after the earthquake, American Chinook and Blackhawks, loaded with supplies, land at a military base near the Pakistani capital.

Eight U.S. helicopters, diverted from neighboring Afghanistan, will ferry supplies and rescue teams from mountainous remote areas of the devastated region -- just the beginning of the what the administration promises will be robust assistance.

Witness what one Bush aide candidly told CNN is their post- tsunami, post-Katrina world. Translation, the White House is trying to learn from mistakes. Says it understands the price of appearing not to respond property to natural disasters.

So it was the president, not his secretary of state or anyone else, making a rare Sunday appearance with a Pakistani diplomat.

BUSH: Thousands of people have died. Thousands are wounded, and the United States of America wants to help.

BASH: Later, the White House detailed the initial U.S. response, including a $50 million contribution. Quite different from the four days it took a vacationing president to comment late last year after the tsunami hit.

BUSH: It's just beyond our comprehension to think about how many lives have been lost.

BASH: In Pakistan, the motivation is both humanitarian and strategic.

COL. JAMES YONTS, U.S. MILITARY SPOKESMAN: We're here to respond and help out a trusted ally in the war on terror.

BUSH: Pakistan's president has aided the United States in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, and the White House hopes images of help might tamper hatred there towards the U.S.

STEPHEN COHEN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It's the most anti- American country in the world at the moment. We understand more clearly now that we have in the past the emotional and the psychological impact that foreign assistance can have in these kinds of things.

BASH (on camera): More than a dozen military and Coast Guard choppers were in the air after Hurricane Katrina cleared, but many more were needed. Eight helicopters in Pakistan is also a small part of what's needed, but the quick announcement gives the impression of a swifter reaction. The lesson here: Perception is just as important as the actual response.

Dana Bash, CNN, the White House.


COOPER: Unless, of course, you're one of the people on the ground, then an actual response would be better than just perception.

Let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour on "PAULA ZAHN NOW." Hey, Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson. We're going to try something here that's really unique for all of us. I'm going to try to match people in our viewing audience who are in a position to hire workers with two of Hurricane Katrina's victims who need jobs. I'm going to introduce you to this law school graduate. I will also be introducing you to this cook. A career counselor will join us as well, as will our own Ali Velshi, to tell us about where the jobs are. We're calling it "My New Life."

And Anderson, you spent so much time down there, you know more than anybody else that you have got some 400,000 people without jobs. So we hope this is the start of something good for all those folks down there tonight.

COOPER: Sounds great, Paula, thanks.

ZAHN: You're welcome.

COOPER: That's at the top of the hour.

Still ahead on 360, though, a battle over guns in the Sunshine State. They come to Florida to soak up the sun, kick back. So come Joe and Jane Tourist become targets in a battle over guns? We'll explain ahead.


COOPER: So imagine spending a lot of money, take a vacation in Florida with your family, and you step off the plane, you step out of the airport, and someone hands you a flyer warning you about guns. They're opponents of a new Florida law, and they have some gun advocates fighting mad. Here's CNN's John Zarrella.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Florida's is tough to beat.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Florida tourism officials want you to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seafood, night life.

ZARRELLA: But this flyer conjures up a different image.

KEN ELLIS, VISITOR: I'm wondering whether we're moving back to the old west, and I don't mean west Florida. I mean, the old west.

ZARRELLA: The Brady Campaign, a gun control group, has taken aim at the state's new no-retreat law, called common sense by Governor Jeb Bush.

(on camera): It says any person can stand their ground, meet force with force, if he or she believes it's necessary to prevent death or bodily harm. There is no longer any obligation to try to retreat first, whether in your house, your car, or on the street.

(voice-over): Supporters say law-abiding citizens can now protect themselves without fear of prosecution. The Brady Campaign says the law may lead to the reckless use of guns. The group is handing out its flyer at Florida airports.

ZACK RAGBOURN, BRADY CAMPAIGN: The people who are most at risk of being in one of these tragic misunderstandings are the people who don't know that deadly force can now be used more often in Florida. Those are the people who don't live in Florida.

ZARRELLA: State tourism officials fire back. It's scare tactics.

VANESSA WELTER, FLORIDA TOURISM BOARD: They're picking on Florida. That's because we're a top tourism destination. We're a global tourism destination.

ZARRELLA: The flyer warns tourists to take precautions, saying, quote, "do not argue unnecessarily with local people." At Miami airport, Dana Brooks agrees with tourism officials.

DANA BROOKS, VISITOR: Why else would you distribute these at an airport, knowing people are flying in for vacation or other reasons, if you're not handing this out to scare people?

ZARRELLA: John Zarrella, CNN, Miami. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Welcome to the Sunshine State.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching 360. Tomorrow, I hope you join us. We're going to have an interview with Marc Morial, the former mayor of New Orleans. We'll talk to him about what's going on with the New Orleans Police Department. I also hope you'll join me tonight for a special edition of "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown and myself, starting at 10:00 Eastern Time, a two-hour edition, 10:00 to midnight.

CNN's prime-time coverage continues right now with Paula Zahn.


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