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Terrorists Escape; California Wildfires; Haul Now, Pay Later; The Safety Hour; Her New Face; Twice the Pain.

Aired February 6, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The civil rights pioneer. From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: An urgent manhunt continues tonight. It is a race against time to find a group of convicted al Qaeda terrorists before they strike again. They broke out of a prison, if you can believe it, in Yemen three days ago. Interpol says the men are a clear and present danger to all countries. Some of the fugitives were involved in deadly attacks on U.S. and French ships. One helped mastermind the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. He is clearly the biggest name in the bunch, the highest valued target on the loose tonight.

More from CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This is where he should be right now -- behind bars. But for more than three days, al Qaeda's Jamal Ahmad Badawi has been on the run. Badawi was convicted in Yemen for his role in bombing the U.S.S. Cole. He got the boat packed with explosives that the suicide bombers drove into the Cole. That attack, in October 2000, killed 17 sailors, wounding more than 39 others.

An urgent global security alert from Interpol says on Friday, Badawi and 22 other convicts -- 12 of them al Qaeda Jihadis, escaped along a 140-yard tunnel they dug with the help of co-conspirators from the outside.

Amazingly, Badawi has escaped from jail before in 2003. As Journalist Robert Draper discovered when he went to Yemen, no one ever escapes without inside help.

ROBERT DRAPER, JOURNALIST, GQ MAGAZINE: There's simply no way that in a prison that is at lest ostensibly heavily guarded, with a large inmate population, that one of the more notorious inmates would be able to waltz right out of the prison unless it was with the help of people on the inside.

ROBERTSON: That Badawi could escape twice, has the family of Sailor Sharon Gunn furious -- not just at the Yemenis, but also the U.S., which they say promised the killers would be locked up for good.

ANTOINE GUNN, BROTHER KILLED IN COLE ATTACK: You have a lot of unfulfilled promises from the FBI, from the United States Navy, from the government in general, and it's just very problematic and very painful for our families.

BARBARA BODINE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO YEMEN: This is an extraordinarily poor country. It not only doesn't have complete control, but we need to understand that this prison is not up to the standards of the U.S. prisons.

ROBERTSON: Another worry -- the 10 known al Qaeda escapees may well have become Jihadi converts inside jail. It wouldn't be the first time. And some believe Badawi would be the perfect recruiter.

DRAPER: They will hear out this man, this heroic figure, perhaps, to some in Yemen. And it's a great likelihood that he will sort of develop his own cult there.


ROBERTSON, (on camera): Well, all of this is a big blow for the Yemeni government, who've been desperately trying to prove that they've destroyed organized al Qaeda in their country -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's amazing that 23 could get out in one jail break. Nic Robertson, thanks.

Three days after the escape, a long list of questions and a great deal of anxiety. Among those whose job it is to prosecute the War on Terror, Peter Bergen is the author of "The Osama bin Laden I know," a fascinating book -- an oral history of al Qaeda's leader. He's also a terrorism analyst for CNN. I talked to him a short time ago.


COOPER: So, Peter, how big a setback is this, the War on Terror?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think it's horribly embarrassing for the Yemeni government. It'd be one thing if these people had escaped once, but they've actually escaped twice.

COOPER: It's also 23 people. It's not as if it's like one guy dressing up in a costume, it's 23 people. I mean, how do 23 people escape from a jail?

BERGEN: Well, you know, it's a good question. I think that it's indicative of the fact the Yemeni government doesn't control the whole country. It's one of the poorest countries in the region. They try and cooperate, you know, with the United States to the degree possible on the war on terrorism, yet, you know, these things happen. And, you know, we've had an attack on the U.S.S. Cole, an attack on housing, which was housing some American soldiers in 1992. We've had an attack on a French oil tanker, post 9/11. Now you've had two prison breaks by members of al Qaeda, you know, taken together, it's not a very attractive picture.

COOPER: So can they -- I mean, can some of these guys rejoin al Qaeda? Will they try to leave the country or will they just try to go to part of Yemen which is kind of the lawless area?

BERGEN: I think they'll go to probably to the northwestern part of the country, which is not really controlled by the government, and hook up with like-minded Jihadis and, you know, harass the Yemeni government and Western targets in Yemen.

COOPER: And they can just -- I mean, how does that work? You just -- you go to the northwest and you kind of say, you know, I'm a jihadist?

BERGEN: Well, I've been up there, and, you know, to drive from the capitol, you drive up a road called Kidnapper's Alley, which -- so kidnapping is kind of a growth industry there. And then, of course, there are these, you know, jihadists in the region and I don't think it will be that difficult for these guys to join up with them.

On the other hand, you know, the Yemeni government -- you may remember a couple years back, five members of al Qaeda driving a car in the desert were attacked by a U.S. predator missile and the Yemeni government obviously would have had to agree to that kind of attack, so at the same time as this escape, there's also a fair degree of cooperation from the Yemeni government.

COOPER: So it is possible, given that past incident, to perhaps catch these guys or bring justice to these guys in some way. I mean, the U.S. does have operational abilities in Yemen?

BERGEN: It has operational abilities in Yemen and when they escaped for the first time, these people -- most of them were caught and then sent back to prison. So, the Yemeni government might be able to do that. You know, it's hard to tell.

COOPER: How bad is this guy, Badawi?

BERGEN: Badawi? You know, he's been sort of bill boarded as the mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole attack. I think, in fact, he was more like a number two or number three. But clearly, you know, he was involved in the Cole operation. And another one of these guys was involved in a suicide attack on a French oil tanker one year after 9/11. So, I mean, both of these are definitely bad guys. I don't think they're going to start, you know, take up gardening or something. They're obviously, you know, full-time members of al Qaeda who are likely to continue.

COOPER: It's fascinating. Peter Bergen, thanks.

BERGEN: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Well, the war on terror has sparked many debates, including the one that spent sparks flying today in a Senate hearing room. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to defend the Bush administration's controversial domestic eavesdropping program. The White House has said over and over that President Bush is empowered as part of the War on Terror to eavesdrop on Americans without first obtaining warrants. Critics on both sides of the aisle beg to differ. As politicians debate the policy, it's affects are already being felt.

CNN's Keith Oppenheim went to the suburbs of Detroit, home to one of the largest Arab populations in North America. Here's what he found.


KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nick Najar (ph) is a real estate agent in Troy, Michigan. So, he's on the phone a lot or meeting with clients -- the majority, Arab Americans. Nick Najar (ph) was born in Iraq and now regularly makes calls to his family in Syria and Lebanon. He's worried his conversations are being monitored by the federal government.

NICK NAJAR (ph): The fear in the community -- it's if today they started with the phones, are they going to stop with the phones or are they going to come one day are they going to listen to our house, what we say in our house?

OPPENHEIM: That fear is widespread here. In Dearborn, the center of one of the nation's largest Arab American communities, signs in Arabic are everywhere. Osama Siblani is the publisher of "The Arab American News," published here and read online around the world.

(On camera): Do you think the phones in your office are bugged?


OPPENHEIM: You're sure about that?

SIBLANI: I don't know. I'm not going to be -- I'm not sure. I don't have evidence.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people expect me to protect their lives and their civil liberties.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): But Siblani argues Arab Americans who openly oppose the administration's policies and make frequent overseas calls increasingly believe they are targets.

(on camera): Are people getting paranoid?

SIBLANI: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And they're getting angry because I don't believe that Arab Americans and American Muslims -- they believe that they are loyal Americans. And when you make decisions like this, to go and spy on them, you make them feel like they are not loyal or they're doing something against this country and that is absolutely wrong.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Loyalty from the Arab-American community is something the Bush administration clearly values. We popped in on a lunch meeting between local Arab leaders and Dan Sutherland from the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Sutherland says an important part of the administration's counter-terrorism strategy is to build partnerships and trust.

(On camera): But does that come harder to do if Arab Americans feel that they're...


OPPENHEIM: ... being targeted?

SUTHERLAND: Absolutely. Absolutely, it does. And that's what we've got to do, is we've got to work hard to establish in people's minds that they're not being targeted for their race or religion or ethnicity.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Some Arab Americans here accept that and agree some surveillance is necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally don't feel that I've been watched. I don't think it's unreasonable to do what you have to do to protect the country.

OPPENHEIM: But others see that the wiretapping program has gone too far by skipping the traditional requirements for court permission. The Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan has sued the National Security Agency. We found the fear of being spied on crosses religious and ethnic lines.

(on camera): In part because the community here is diverse. There are many Muslims who aren't Arabs and there are Arabs who aren't Muslims. In fact, Chaldeans -- or Christians from Iraq, are one of the largest groups here. And what we're hearing repeatedly is the wiretapping program makes these groups feel lumped together and in the eyes of their government, separated from their adopted country.

NAJAR (ph): First, they don't distinguish between I'm a Christian Chaldean. The only thing they know, everybody came from the Middle East, if it's Iraq or Lebanon or Morocco or Egypt, is that...

OPPENHEIM: You're an Arab.

SIBLANI: You're an Arab.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): The nation's number two intelligence director says Arab Americans and other groups are not being specifically targeted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not a driftnet over Dearborn or Lackawanna or Fremont. This is targeted and focused.

OPPENHEIM: Still, people here increasingly fear they are being viewed less as loyal Americans and more as a telephone link to terrorism. Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Dearborn, Michigan.


COOPER: Well, in California tonight there are fierce winds and fire. Coming up, a live report on the battle against a wild fire that has forced hundreds of people from their homes.

And tens of thousands still paying their respects at this hour for Coretta Scott King. There's a live shot right there, passing by her casket at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Oprah Winfrey showed up, making a moving tribute. Coming up, we'll hear what she said about the first lady of the Civil Rights Movement.

Plus, a new song, a new mission by Musician Michael Stipe to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

You're watching 360.



COOPER: Well, for 38 years, she was what we had left of him, and now she, too, is gone. There was a funeral today for Coretta Scott King, widow of the Reverend Martin Luther King, and there were eulogies, one of them on television from her daughter, Yolanda.

YOLANDA KING, DAUGHTER OF CORETTA SCOTT KING: Through her inexhaustible giving, we learned to give. Through her faith, we learned the confidence of knowing that peace on earth is inevitable. Through her courage, strength and determination, we learned to embrace our spiritual power and stand strong in truth.

We are so grateful for the many lessons because they give us -- all of us -- the foundation upon which to carry on, and carry on we will.

COOPER: Well, 13,000 people showed up today at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church to pay their last respects to the first lady of the civil rights movement.

Oprah Winfrey paid her respects, as well, eloquently and feelingly.


OPRAH WINFREY: To me, she embodied royalty. She was the queen.


WINFREY: She was royalty and grace and femininity and power all in the body of one woman. And let me tell you, she was a real woman and not just an aging female. The way she looked at you with such calm and steady beauty and power, you knew she was a force. A week before she died, she sent me a long letter and a handmade quilt her mother had passed down to her and that she now wanted to pass on to me. And in her letter to me, it felt like she was sharing all of the wisdom that she wanted me to retain so that I would know myself.

Every time I sat with her, whether she spoke or not, I came away wiser, knowing more about how to live and what it means to be a real woman. I felt blessed always to be in her presence.

She leaves us all a better America than the America of her childhood.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. King, and it says: Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service.


WINFREY: Mrs. King was the brilliant shining blessed example of great service and stewardship. And for those of us who yet live, the president said it, we've got work to do. And I believe that our work is to be pressed to the mark. Pressed to the mark of a higher calling to serve the world. And it is my prayer that the greatness that she showed every day, the greatness that she lived will now find a home within all of us.


COOPER: Well, the funeral will be tomorrow at noon. You can watch it live, here on CNN.

In southern California, firefighters are trying to get the upper hand on a fierce wind-driven wildfire that has burned about 1,200 acres and is now forcing hundreds from their homes. Those are some of the images we've been getting.

For the latest, we take you live to Anaheim Hills, California, where Ross Palombo of our affiliate KCAL is standing by.

Ross, what is happening out there?

ROSS PALOMBO, KCAL-TV CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this fire has been burning for 16 hours now. Most of the fight has been right here along where I'm standing, Highway 241. On one side here to the east is where the fire is. On the west side of the road are the communities the firefighters are trying to protect.

Most of the day -- they spent today burning down the side of this ravine so that it would meet the fire in the canyon and possibly stop it. That worked for several hours, but just moments ago we found out that the fire has jumped the line and is once again heading in this direction. And as we scan (ph) over here to the left, you can see that this (unintelligible) most threatened. This is Anaheim Hills and more than 2,000 homes have been evacuated from that area so far today, and evacuations continue as the fire heads in that direction. So far 450 firefighters out here, 1,500 acres have burned; and again, 2,000 homes threatened. They're going to be working throughout the night on this one -- Anderson.

COOPER: You say it's moving back in your direction. How far away is it? I mean, we can see it behind you.

PALOMBO: Well, it's only a few hundred yards down from where I'm standing. And more importantly, it's now within a half mile from the nearest homes.

COOPER: Well, be careful. Appreciate the report. Thanks very much. Ross, from KCAL.

As you may know, we have made it something of a mission of ours to keep track of the many promises made to the people of New Orleans and the Gulf, generally, after their lives were turned upside down by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

"Keeping them Honest," that's what we call the stories we do in this vein. In fact, we've reported on the one that follows before more than once, always thinking, well, hey, that ought to take care of it. Indeed, last time around FEMA had finally agreed to pay for the trailers that are at the heart of this next story.

And yet, well, see for yourself. CNN's Susan Roesgen reports.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In St. Bernard Parish, it has come to this. Fed up with waiting for FEMA to pay for trailers the Parish ordered just days after the hurricane, the St. Bernard Parish Council says enough is enough.

JOEY DI FATTA, COUNCILMAN: I don't want our citizenry to have to wait for some paper pusher in Washington to get it right. We got it right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 59 Pakenham Avenue, which is going to be me.

ROESGEN: Armed with addresses of some of the people in the Parish who seem to need a trailer most, Councilman Joey Di Fatta led his fellow council members in liberating five trailers that were supposed to stay on this lot. They didn't call it stealing, but FEMA has not paid for these trailers, so the Parish doesn't have the right to take them. The contractor, who brought the trailers to St. Bernard, let the council members on the lot and even helped them haul the trailers away.

JIM MCGUIRE, TRAILER CONTRACTOR: Somebody's going to have to see sooner or later somebody's willing to do something. I'm willing to get the ball going by giving them the trailers.

ROESGEN: The Parish ordered 6,000 trailers from Jim McGuire's company and McGuire wants FEMA to pay $16,500 for each. But FEMA is balking at the price. The FEMA housing officer for the state of Louisiana, Steve DeBlasio says FEMA usually pays just $10,500. Although, he could not provide documentation to support that figure. DeBlasio told CNN, "It's not a matter of another million dollars. We can't get involved with some middleman. We generally deal with the manufacturers." And he says by taking trailers without authorization, the council, "will further complicate the issue," saying "if FEMA can't put a bar code on the trailers, FEMA won't pay for trailers that leave the lot without one."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would imagine they want the door facing their house.

ROESGEN: But that didn't stop the council members form commandeering the trailers, giving them to people who had just about given up on ever seeing one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, I'm going to carry you up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carry me -- oh no! Wait, don't throw me (unintelligible). Oh wow! Praise God, huh?!

ROESGEN: In St. Bernard Parish, five new trailers are now five people's homes. But thousands of other people are still waiting. And if this act of civil disobedience got FEMA's attention, that's just what the Parish council wants.

JUDY HOFFMEISTER, COUNCILWOMAN: I'd like the people of America to look at me, my face. We are God-fearing, patriotic, flag waving, tax paying Americans. My face could be your face in the next disaster. So we need the help of all America.


ROESGEN (on camera): And these are some of the 6,000 trailers now minus five that FEMA has refused to pay for so far. In fact, FEMA says it's bringing in its own trailers to the St. Bernard Parish, more than 100 a day, but the Parish council says no way, that number's more like 20 a day. And at that rate, Anderson, everyone who needs a trailer in St. Bernard Parish should have one by the year 2010.

COOPER: Yes, they said there are thousands of people, no real accurate numbers, but thousands of families needing trailers in St. Bernard Parish. Susan, appreciate it.

Joining us live now from Baton Rouge to talk about this -- it's not much, well, a trailer business, I guess. I guess it's a mix-up of some sort, is the federal coordinating officer for Katrina and Rita in the state of Louisiana, Scott Wells.

Mr. Wells, thanks very much for being with us.

SCOTT WELLS, FEMA: Thank you for having me, Anderson.

COOPER: The Times (unintelligible) has reported that on Saturday, January 22, you told Parish President Junior Rodriguez that FEMA would pay for these trailers. Now these are trailers that you guys didn't order. These are trailers that Parish officials ordered, but can't pay for because they have no tax base. Why haven't the trailers been paid for?

WELLS: I did call Junior up and told him that we had approval to pay for these trailers, not from Junior, but from the manufacturer. Since that time, there had been some developments about the process. For example, most importantly, the price of those trailers went up from $13,500 to $16,500 per trailer. That's $3,000 a trailer and that's just unacceptable. We don't know why they went up, but that equates to $18 million for the 6,000 travel trailers. So we need to reconcile this and other things like this before we buy those trailers.

COOPER: You know, there are a lot of people in St. Bernard Parish who just don't understand -- not just about these trailers, but about the trailers that you guys are bringing in and you are bringing in some trailers, but as you know, there are thousands of families in need. Why is it taking so long for you guys, for FEMA-approved trailers to get there?

WELLS: There are several reasons. And supply is not a reason. That's why it was interesting listening to Joey Di Fatta talk about commandeering these trailers, because we have not had a problem with supply. And we'll get into those other issues in just a second. But we've worked with Junior Rodriguez, the Parish president, hand in glove, and about three weeks ago we gave him 50 travel trailers for eligible applicants and he did a great job and he's one of the very few parish presidents who's done that, but he did a great job...

COOPER: But he basically...

WELLS: ... hauling and installing these travel trailers and he can do that more. We can give him more if he wants them.

COOPER: Right. But he basically says you guys are liars. I mean, he has said this on this program. I was in St. Bernard Parish three weeks ago, trying to figure out why there weren't more trailers in places you guys put down, you know, orange flags back in October for a whole bunch of trailers in front of people's homes. They're still sitting there. The flags are disintegrating. When we asked FEMA three weeks ago why there weren't more trailers, FEMA said in a statement, and I quote, "city or Parish ordinances, state approvals and layers of local politics remain the primary roadblock in placing additional trailers. Until officials waive many of the rules impeding FEMA, the agency has not authority to hook up trailers."

Now, Junior Rodriguez, the governor -- they all say that's bunk. They say there are no local ordinances in St. Bernard Parish. Do you know of specific ones? I mean, we asked FEMA to give us specific ordinances and we've yet to hear.

WELLS: Well, that is bunk for St. Bernard Parish because there are none of those limitations then, but when the question was asked of FEMA, it wasn't for St. Bernard, it was for the Gulf Coast in general. So that statement did not apply to St. Bernard Parish.

COOPER: Well that's actually not true. I mean, we specifically asked for St. Bernard Parish and my producer, Charlie Moore, asked the question. I heard it on the phone. But can you tell me -- I mean, if there aren't any -- if you're saying that there aren't any ordinances or bureaucracy getting in the way in St. Bernard Parish, why for God's sakes aren't there more trailers there? I mean there are thousands of people in need.

WELLS: OK. A couple of major reasons. The first one is the lack of infrastructure in St. Bernard Parish. That Parish was devastated. That was the hardest hit Parish in the whole state of Louisiana. There's very little electricity there, sewer, water. There's a lot of debris on light commercial pads, so the devastation and infrastructure made that behind probably all the other parishes in the state of Louisiana because of the devastation.

COOPER: Right, but I mean...

WELLS: The second issue...

COOPER: ... I saw specific homes that had flags outside, the sites that you guys had picked out that did have water, that did have electricity according to local officials. Anyway, I don't want to interrupt you. Your second reason?

WELLS: The second reason is the contractors. We have three national contractors that do the hauling and installation for FEMA and they're averaging now between 400 to 450 travel trailers per day throughout the state. And it's a matter of capability to move these travel trailers and install them throughout the state. It's not a supply issue.


WELLS: It's a capacity issue of hauling and installing. And that's where Junior came in a great benefit three weeks ago when he volunteered to take 50 of these and do the installations.

COOPER: Well, Mr. Wells, I appreciate you coming on the program and actually answering the questions. I do appreciate it. We've been trying to get those answers specifically about St. Bernard Parish from FEMA for a while now and I appreciate it. Thank you very much. We'd like to follow up on the story with you guys next time we're down there in about a week or two. Thanks very much, Mr. Wells.

WELLS: We look forward to it, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Take care.

Across the country today, all coal mines are asked to close for a bit for a safety review. The trouble is, that isn't nearly as good as it sounds. We'll explain why, coming up.

Plus, a public debut of the woman who is now part of medical history as recipient of the first partial face transplant. A remarkable new chapter and a remarkable story when 360 continues.


COOPER: From coast to coast today, a safety stand down at coal mines. That includes West Virginia. Given the fact that 16 miners have died there in a series of accidents since the 2nd of January, as opposed to three deaths in all of 2005, one day doesn't seem too much to ask. Unfortunately, what's been asked for is actually much less, even in that.

CNN's Joe Johns reports.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you thought the federal government was shutting down America's mines for safety checks today, you're probably not alone, but you'd be wrong. The so-called nationwide stand down for safety sounded like inspectors across the country were looking for safety violations. Instead, mines outside West Virginia were simply asked to take an hour or so at the beginning of each shift to discuss the hazards of mining and the safeguards.

But here in the mountain state, where 16 miners have died since the beginning of the year, additional federal inspectors have been dispatched to look for problems on top of inspections the governor ordered. And mining companies here are tired of all the poking and prodding.

CHRIS HAMILTON, WEST VIRGINIA COAL ASSOCIATION: They are inspections and that is being characterized to the outside world and to a lot of the mining regions here in the state as blitzes by federal marshals.

JOHNS: But some of the men who actually go into the West Virginia mines say inspections here are welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They neglect, I mean there are times there's two or three months you don't even see an inspector around the mines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They haven't done made many changes in the last few years. There's still some things they could do.

JOHNS: And briefings on emergency evacuations and safety are also well received. Basically, a refresher course on mine gases, coal dust, ventilation practices, how to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to remind everybody to pay attention, you know, about the hazards underground.

JOHNS: In fact, some miners worry that the cost of new safety equipment is actually put ahead of safety itself. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin says human safety versus cost to the companies should not be an issue.

JOE MANCHIN, GOVERNOR, WEST VIRGINIA: I don't want to believe that anybody would ever put a cost to human life. That's me speaking. That's the state of West Virginia speaking. I can tell you how much a roof boulder costs. I can tell you how much a continuous miner costs. I can tell you how much a ton of coal sells for, but I can't tell you the price of a miner -- that's priceless.

JOHNS: Priceless maybe, but the industry says too much regulation could strangle the resurgence of coal. Still, there is some middle ground. Today federal regulators said three mines had already volunteered to test new underground wireless communication technology. And the industry is also sending signals that it's interested in a mining safe room concept, fashioned after what's sometimes used in other deep mines. A place that has food, water and air, where miners could hide until they could be rescued.

(on camera): Is that a good idea?

CHRIS HAMILTON, WEST VIRGINIA COAL ASSOCIATION: Well, I think the concept of some safety zone, some safe room underground makes a lot of sense. And as an alternative to this requirement that we're now confronted with here in West Virginia of having 16 safety devices worn on each individual, which is not practical.

JOHNS (voice-over): The safety of miners is now at the top of everyone's agenda. But if the government overreacts, some coal mining companies say the new coal boom could go bust.


JOHS (On camera): No one we spoke with today could say whether more teaching and training could have helped those miners who died over the last month. Those investigations are still going on. The industry and the government all say they think they ought to be doing something. That in part, of course, is the reason for the stand down -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Joe Johns, doing something is always good. Joe, thanks very much.

It is a story that helps define the times we live in. The world's first face transplant. Today, the person who got it showed it off to the media. She has been through a lot. Find out what she now has to deal with.

Plus the school that has been doubly hurt. First, by the death of David Blum, now by the injury of ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff. The connection here will surprise a lot of people.

You're watching 360.


COOPER: Well, today, the woman who received the world's first face transplant went public. Last year the face Isabelle Dinoire was born with. This is it. It was devoured by her dog. Here's what she looked like before her long ordeal.

Now, here's a picture of the late woman whose lower face was transplanted onto Ms. Dinoire's.

And here is the end result. Neither one nor the other, not exactly. Remember the donor face takes on the characteristics of the underlying bone structure.

And this is the rest of the story. But a warning, some of it can be a little tough on the eyes. CNN's Jim Bittermann reports.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the face many around the world were waiting to see -- the first transplanted face. A woman who once looked like this before being mauled by her dog, now looks like this. Not anything like the donor, because she has different bone structure.

It was the awful wounds inflicted by Isabelle Dinoire's pet Labrador that brought her to this point. She told newsmen she had taken pills to help her sleep and help her forget a terrible week.

But her nightmare began when she awoke from her drug-induced stupor to find the dog had chewed off most of her nose, lips and chin. Doctors believe it was to get her attention.

For six months she said she could barely eat or speak and was ashamed to be seen in public without her surgical mask. Doctors decided reconstructive surgery was not enough. She needed a new lower face.

And so at the end of November, when the face of a donor became available, they did not hesitate to operate; 15 hours later, she became one of the most famous patients in medical history. And just a week later, she was eating and speaking.

ISABELLE DINOIRE, PATIENT (through translator): I can open my mouth and I can eat. And I can feel my lips and my nose.

BITTERMANN: And there were some complications, some tissue rejection, which was treated by drugs. But doctors say she is progressing better than expected.

Gradually, her doctors say, MRI scans show Isabelle Dinoire's brain is taking control over her new face.

But what makes the transplant of a face so unique is the role the face plays in communicating emotions. Her surgeon told CNN recovering that ability to express her emotions will be the true sign she has recovered completely.

DR. BERNARD DEVAUCHELLE, SURGEON: The question is, creative movement is a good thing. The difference between the movement and an expressivity.

BITTERMAN (on camera): The doctors and their patient say that they hope the success of her operation holds out hope to others who might need similar surgery. Already, teams in the United States, Great Britain and elsewhere are planning for face transplants. And the teams here have applied to the Health Ministry for permission to do five more.

(voice-over): As for Isabelle Dinoire, she wants to get back to a normal life and away from the media attention. But not entirely. As she drove off in a non-descript van, her doctor told CNN she has a film deal in the works and will sit down this evening with a French philosopher who is pondering what it is like living a life behind another person's face.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Amiens, France.


COOPER: Well tonight, some students in Connecticut are praying hard for one of our colleagues. After the break, how Bob Woodruff's injuries from Iraq are particularly devastating to one school that's seen this sort or thing before. It's a bizarre case of tragedy striking twice.

And we talk with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe about his new song and his mission to help those hurt by Hurricane Katrina. Hear how you can help when 360 continues.



COOPER: This past weekend David Westin, the president of ABC News, released a statement on the condition of "World News Tonight" Anchor Bob Woodruff, who was injured by a roadside bomb while working on a story in Iraq. Westin says that Woodruff is still heavily sedated, which says there is reason for quote, "real optimism concerning his recovery."

Students at a private school in Greenwich, Connecticut, are clinging to that optimism. You see, Woodruff became very close to them after the war in Iraq took another one of their friends. CNN's Randi Kaye has that story.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bob Woodruff wasn't supposed to give the commencement speech at the Convent of the Sacred Heart back in 2003.

BOB WOODRUFF, CO-ANCHOR, ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: That honor was to be my friend, your friend, David Blum.

KAYE: The two were friends and more. Top network journalists. Their wives are friends. Their kids, close. So when NBC Correspondent David Blum died suddenly from a blood clot while covering the war in Iraq, Bob Woodruff became a surrogate.

WOODRUFF: The lesson of his life is to follow your passion and everything will flow from that. SISTER JOAN MAGNETTI, HEADMISTRESS, CONVENT OF THE SACRED HEART: When he died, it was really like a part of us died. It really brought the war to us in a way that was very painful.

KAYE: Sister Joan Magnetti called on Woodruff to speak at the Greenwich, Connecticut private school. Blum had been a longtime supporter of Sacred Heart. His daughters still attend. Blum was committed to expanding the school's journalism program and raising money to build this new library and TV studio. One of the last phone calls he made was to the school about the plans.

SADE JOSEPH, JOURNALISM STUDENT: I thought, like as he was leaving, that he was still thinking about our school. It really just stays with you and just shows how much this man was dedicated to journalism.

KAYE: Woodruff would fill Blum's shoes at the father/daughter dinner dance, at trustee and fundraising meetings. Even once on grandparents' night. So when Sacred Heart students learned Woodruff had been critically wounded in Iraq, it was, they say, a double blow. Almost too hard to imagine. Woodruff's picture, like Blum's, now prominently displayed on the school's prayer board.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today we pray for Bob Woodruff's recovery. We also pray for Woodruff and for the Blum families for getting a lot of support and peace during this difficult time.

KAYE: Woodruff has been part of every morning prayer service. This morning, Elise Byrnes quoted the Patron Saint of Journalists, Maximilian Colby.

ELISE BYRNES, WOODRUFF'S NEIGHBOR: No one in the world remains true, what we can do and should do is be true. And to serve it when we have found it.

KAYE: The high school senior who lives across the street from Woodruff's family can't help but wonder with Woodruff as a stand-in for Blum, how could this happen?

BYRNES: How could, you know, God choose this one person? You know, where, you know, David Blum and Bob Woodruff, you know, of all the other, you know, journalists and why them?

KAYE: At the close of that commencement speech, Woodruff shared a final and now haunting thought about his friend.

WOODRUFF: He said that if he passed away during this war, he had made peace with God and was ready to go to heaven.

KAYE: It is from heaven, Sister Magnetti believes that Blum is looking down on Woodruff, willing him to heal.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Greenwich, Connecticut.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, R.E.M. Frontman Michael Stipe, his new song and new mission to help those still suffering from Hurricane Katrina. That is coming up.

But first, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories tonight -- Erica.


America Online and Yahoo have a new plan for your e-mail. They're going to charge for some it, but they're not charging you. The fee-base system, aimed at large companies is voluntary, but it guarantees the messages will reach their intended target. The system is set to roll out in the next new weeks. It's touted as a way to protect customers from spam and fraud. Although, some marketers claim it's really just another way for AOL and Yahoo to make money. CNN and AOL are both part of the Time Warner family.

A ceremonial swearing-in today for the new chairman of the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke took over the role last Wednesday, after Former Chairman Alan Greenspan stepped down after 18 years in charge. President Bush was on hand for the ceremony, marking only the third time a president has visited the Federal Reserve.

And you can forget the Steelers -- the Magic Fridge, really the big winner at the Super Bowl last night. The Bud Light ad, which you're taking a look at there, was voted the best commercial by "USA Today's" Ad Meter Consumer Focus Group, putting Anheuser Bush at the top of the "USA Today" chart for the eighth consecutive year. Not a bad track record -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, very good. Thanks.

How strong is the power of a song? R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe is hoping his newest single is going to be powerful enough to help save part of the country still struggling after Hurricane Katrina. He talks about his musical mission when 360 continues.




COOPER: Well the song might not be familiar, but the voice certainly is; and sadly, so are the images. The voice is that of R.E.M. Frontman Michael Stipe. The images, as you know, come from the ruins of Katrina. Houses and streets still in shambles, practically untouched more than five months after the storm. It is hard to believe this is happening in America. And that is where the song comes in. It's called, "In the Sun," and Stipe is making it available through iTunes to raise money for hurricane relief and to keep lingering devastation in the forefront of our minds. I spoke with him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So why did you decide to do this project?

MICHAEL STIPE, R.E.M.: I had been on tour with my band. When I flew back, as we were landing, we had to go around some weather system that was happening. It's when we landed, and that where this had turned out to be Katrina. I was really hit by how enormous the devastation was.

COOPER: When was the first time that you went actually back to New Orleans?

STIPE: I was there two weeks ago.

COOPER: How was it compared to what you thought it was going to be like?

STIPE: I think a lot of Americans feel like things are probably OK or they're on the road to recovery. And seeing it with my own eyes, that's not the case.

COOPER: Does it -- I mean, every time I go back, you know, you go to the Lower Ninth Ward, you go to Lakeview, and there are people's possessions laying all around and it is literally exactly as it was five plus months ago.

STIPE: It's like (unintelligible) because there's no birds, there's no dogs, there's no people, it's just all this stuff laid out in the mud.

COOPER: Why do you think it is that people have moved on? I mean those who have moved on, why do you think they have?

STIPE: A lot of people in this country have not -- it's not that they've forgotten, it's just that I think they probably think that everything's on the road to recovery.

COOPER: This song is called?

STIPE: "In the Sun."

COOPER: And why this song? What does it mean? Why did you pick this one?

STIPE: There's something in the lyric about watching something that's happened or happening to someone else and how that profoundly affects and changes you. And for whatever reason, that spoke to me.

COOPER: Let's take a look.


COOPER: Do you -- is there someone in particular you blame or do you think, I mean, I personally think that mistakes were made at, you know, local level, state level, federal level. I think there is plenty of blame to go around. When you look at what's happening there, where do you see it? STIPE: With this project, I wanted to focus more on my take on this, which is that this is really about who we are as a nation and as a people and I found -- well, we all have stories about the things that have happened to us and I have my Katrina story and I'm sure you have yours and there are people that were directly affected by this. But it's really our story. It's about who we are as a people and I really stand by the idea that united, we can be very powerful.

COOPER: I'm glad you came in to talk about it. Michael, thanks.

STIPE: Thanks.


COOPER: We, of course, continue to follow this story every night. "Keeping them Honest," we'll both be down in the Gulf in New Orleans, coming in the next several weeks as well.

On our radar tonight, Isabelle Dinoire, the first human recipient of a face transplant. You've seen the story. We've gotten hundreds of responses on the blog. Here are just a few of them.

Joyce in Rantoul, Illinois, says, "I have been listed as an organ donor for years. After hearing about the prospect of losing my face, I have changed my mind. I told my co-workers and family that unless I say otherwise, I no longer want to be an organ donor."

On the blog -- the 360 blog, I had sort of posted the question, would you be willing to donate your face? And these are just some of the responses we've been getting.

Karen, in Matthews, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote, "I would absolutely donate my face. My soul leaves my body when I die, and if any part of the shell that is left behind can help another person live a productive life, then they are welcome to it."

Bill, in Washington, he's kind of less sure. "A face transplant isn't a life-saving procedure," he says, "so no. But I am a registered organ donor because it does save lives."

And finally, there's David from Houston, "So many women have rejected my face in this life," he says, "I don't think I could stand having yet another rejection after I'm dead."

Interesting. More on 360 in a moment. You can check out the blog. AC360, and just log on the Web site. Stay with us.


COOPER: "LARRY KING" is next. A lawyer held hostage by an angry former client, speaks out for the first time. Plus, an exclusive you don't want to miss.


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