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THE SITUATION ROOM

Miners Still Trapped; New Bridge Collapse Video; Hillary Clinton Rising in Polls; Mia Farrow Offers Trade for Sudanese Dissident; Missing Cuban Boxers Back Home; FBI's New Pot-Smoking Policy; Father of Ohio Murder Victim Goes After Killer in Court

Aired August 7, 2007 - 19:00   ET

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


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Lou.
Happening now, the slow struggle to reach six trapped miners dead or alive, as the search drags on and anxiety fills, a mine boss lashes out.

Also tonight -- new reason for Hillary Clinton's rivals to go on the attack, our new poll drives home the question -- can any Democrat stop her?

And an actress makes a stunning offer, Mia Farrow says she's willing to be taken prisoner, we'll tell you what she's asking for in return.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It could take another two days or more for rescuers to finally reach the six men trapped deep inside a collapsed mine in central Utah. And the head of the company that runs the mine says the search has been too slow, tonight the setbacks, the frustrations, the uncertainty about what caused the cave-in and whether the miners can survive.

Our Brian Todd is following all of this and Brian, where does the search stand right now?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Suzanne, it has been 37 hours now since the collapse at the Crandall mine. One official said a short time ago that when he left the site, drilling from above was about to begin. But today the mine owner said progress has been slow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): The fastest approach drilling from abandoned shafts nearby failed on the first attempt.

BOB MURRAY, MINE OWNER: I'm disappointed, disappointed with our progress in gaining access to these trapped miners. But of course, to us, progress is never fast enough in a situation like this.

TODD: Now, rescuers are working furiously on three other approaches clearing the rock fall, drilling from above and drilling from the side. Officials say they're drilling one hole nearly nine inches wide, a second only two and a half inches.

RICHARD STICKLER, ASSISTANT LABOR SECRETARY: That would provide a conduit that if we're able to make contact with miners, we could drop in communication, water, food and give us a reference point.

TODD: Officials say they know the location and they have the manpower and the equipment. Workers have been restoring supports and ventilation, but the work site is not entirely stable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has been ongoing seismic activity, in other words, bumps, movements of the mountain. This presents a safety hazard to the rescue workers.

TODD: But this federal official says he's still not sure if an earthquake caused this collapse or it was the collapse that caused the seismic reading of 3.9. There has been no contact with the missing miners, but one positive indication, there has been no sign of fire or explosion. On the mine owners claim that there was no so-called retreat mining going on, dangerous cutting and removing of coal blocks in a checkerboard pattern. The federal officials said this...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are areas of the mine that the map shows that retreat mining has occurred.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: But Robert Stickler was clear. He said he is not sure if retreat mining was conducted by the trapped miners at the time of the collapse. He just said that it had occurred in the past -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Brian, what more do we know about the trapped miners themselves?

TODD: The Mexican consulate in Salt Lake City says three of those miners are Mexican citizens. The others have not been identified.

MALVEAUX: OK. Brian Todd, thank you so much.

And as we talk about the race to find these miners, we're also looking at just who they are. CNN's Ted Rowlands is joining us now from outside the mine and Ted, you have been talking to some of the family and friends throughout the day.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well who they are, they are six people that have a lot of people that are very, very concerned about them. We are at high school or at a school, a grade school here in this small mining town. And this is where all of the families have gathered. This is where they get the daily updates from the mine. And this is where they get the help from the Red Cross and they get the support of each other as they wait to find out whether their loved ones are dead or alive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIE JONES, MOTHER OF RESCUE WORKER: I'm a mom. You know. I want him safe. And, this is what he does.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): When she first heard that men were trapped Julie Jones said she was told her 23-year-old son, Elam (ph), was in the mine.

JONES: There's been a mine cave-in. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ROWLANDS: It turned out that Elam (ph), who has worked at the Crandall Canyon mine for two years was fine and now is part of a team desperately working around the clock trying to reach the six that are still trapped.

JONES: He says mom, we're digging with our hands at one time, just to help get those guys out. We're doing whatever we can do to get the guys out.

ROWLANDS: While the desperate rescue operation goes on inside the mine, family members are gathered at a local school going through what must be an excruciating wait to find out the fate of their loved ones.

JONES: They don't say much and we just nod. And you know, tap our hearts because our prayers are with them.

ROWLANDS: The trapped miners are all described as family men, ranging in age between their 20's and late 40's. Three of the six are Mexican nationals.

SALVADOR JIMENEZ, MEXICAN CONUSLATE, SALT LAKE CITY: In Mexico there's a great -- they are given great importance to this news that we have a great sense of solidarity with our own people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want them home. We want them home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS: And that really is the sentiment of this entire community, people have been coming in from the region, relatives, we have seen license plates just coming in today from Nebraska, New Mexico. As time passes more and more family members are gathering here, more and more people praying that these miners will be found alive -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Ted, our prayers obviously with them, can't imagine the kind of anguish they're going through. Thank you so much, Ted.

And the head of the company that operates that Utah mine says he has never experienced anything like this -- joining me now our Carol Costello.

Carol, you've been taking a closer look at who he is and you have actually talked to him before.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, he's kind of an old-style guy, Suzanne. Bob Murray is his name. You know he didn't hold a news conference today. He had a conversation about God, mining and America. This is a self-made man who mortgaged his house to buy his first coal mine. Today he has 11. And according to the "Wall Street Journal", they make $800 million a year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO (voice-over): Bob Murray loves God, America, family and coal. Telling the nation...

BOB MURRAY, MINE OWNER: I don't know whether these miners are alive or dead. Only the Lord knows that.

COSTELLO: And that he's grieving, too, along with the miners' families.

MURRAY: This is a tragedy for them. It's a tragedy for America. It's a tragedy for me.

COSTELLO: But Murray is insisting this tragedy was not his fault. And in a move some say is vintage Murray told the sheriff to do something about the traffic noise so that everyone could hear him.

MURRAY: Have the sheriff stop all this traffic until I'm done. I can't progress like this.

COSTELLO: Murray then insisted an earthquake caused the Utah disaster, even though the chief scientist at the National Information Center says it did not. For those who deal with Murray, it's clear he cares about coal. He's taken on Al Gore's mission against global warming, telling back in April it hurts the American miner.

MURRAY: I would describe Al Gore as the shaman of global goofiness and gloom and doom.

COSTELLO: And then he took his fight to a Senate committee where he tangled with Senator Barbara Boxer, accusing her of being ignorant of the plight of the American worker.

MURRAY: You have my invitation, ma'am, to come out because you people inside the beltway and you senators do on the majority side give a clear appearance that you don't have the foggiest idea what a person does to pack a lunch and go to work or wear a hard hat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir...

MURRAY: You're inside the beltway. I know what's going on out there.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Sir, I would appreciate you didn't have that kind of edge because I've got some information here about you and -- have the biggest fines against of any other miner in Ohio.

COSTELLO: Murray angrily denied that. And Tuesday he attacked the United Mine Workers and former federal officials for what they are saying about what happened at his Utah mine.

MURRAY: These individuals have given very false statements to the media and to America for their own motives.

COSTELLO: Then he blasted the media for quoting them. Through it all, Murray maintained he cared deeply about his workers because he's a coal miner himself.

MURRAY: I don't have much hair. But I have been doing this for 50 years, mining coal. It's all I know. I have had men die in my arms.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: This is a man who doesn't easily back down. In 2001, he filed $1 billion defamation suit, yes I said $1 billion defamation suit against the "Akron Beacon Journal" (ph) for a profile that was published about him. He didn't like being called a coal baron or his competitors calling him "honest Bob" in the article. A settlement was finally reached, but the terms, Suzanne, were not disclosed.

MALVEAUX: And Carol, it's an absolutely captivating news conference. What were your first impressions when you first met him last April?

COSTELLO: Well when I interviewed him in April he's very much the courtly gentleman, so he comes into the news room, at the Time Warner Center in New York, he takes my hand, you know he shakes it like this, very much the courtly gentleman, but he is a no-nonsense guy. And he touts himself as very much a man of the people, somebody who doesn't take anything from anyone.

MALVEAUX: We can tell. OK, thank you very much. Carol Costello.

Bob Murray is adamant about what he says caused the mine's cave- in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: This is the first major accident I've ever had in one of my coal mines in 20 years of being in existence, the first major accident. And this was caused by an earthquake. Not something that Murray Energy or Utah American did or our employees did or our management did or that the mine's safety and health administration did. It was a natural disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: A short while ago, I had a phone conversation about this with Harley Benz of the National Earthquake Information Center.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARLEY BENZ, NATIONAL EARTHQUAKE INFORMATION CENTER (via phone): Our preliminary analysis and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of data suggests that what we observed was a mine collapse. The signal that we recorded on all of the seismic stations in the area and throughout the western U.S. had characteristics that were not typical of a natural- occurring earthquake.

MALVEAUX: So what does that mean? Did -- was there some sort of activity that happened after this cave-in that you picked up or was there some sort of disaster or earthquake that happened before? Help us understand.

BENZ: Well the basic information or observations that we have is, is that we have a seismic event in the proximity of the mine. We know that it is shallow. We know that its magnitude, which is 3.9, is not atypical of other mine collapses that we have observed in the western U.S. and elsewhere.

And that the seismic signal recorded on the seismograph is not typical of earthquake signals. But it's more characteristic of collapses. But, in order to fully understand this, we're certainly going to have to do a lot more modeling. We're doing this in conjunction with scientists at the University of Utah.

MALVEAUX: Bob Murray says that this happened below -- this kind of event happened below where the miners were actually working, so he is suggesting that because it happened below where they were located that that is what caused the cave-in at the site where they were working.

BENZ: Well we don't really know that. Of all of the seismic parameters that we measure, getting estimates of the depths are the most problematic. The best we can do at this point, without a lot of further analysis is to say that it was relatively shallow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And we're going to be following the latest in the mine disaster throughout the hour.

Plus, Mia Farrow offers herself up as a hostage. She says she is willing to be taken captive in exchange for the release of a Sudanese prisoner, but is anyone taking her seriously?

Also Barack Obama and John Edwards hit hard against the frontrunner while her lead just keeps growing. What will take for them to catch up?

And the first seconds of disaster. New video of the Minnesota bridge collapse at the time it happened. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: The painstaking search is underway for six miners trapped 1,500 feet underground in Utah's Crandall Canyon coal mine. It is not known if they are alive or dead. Rescue crews say that their progress has been frustratingly slow because of unsteady ground. The mine's owner angrily lashed out at the news media and insisted that yesterday's cave-in was caused by an earthquake. He says it could take at least two days to reach the trapped men. But he adds there is no way that they will be left behind. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Well, our efforts have been exhaustive and have involved everything humanly possible to access these trapped miners. They have been disappointingly too slow, too slow. We're focused at remaining at the Crandall Canyon site until these miners are recovered, dead or alive. As I have said before, if the percussion and the shocks of the earthquake did not kill them, we have a very good chance of getting them out of alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And another important story we are following, terrifying disaster the moment it happened. We have new video of that Minneapolis bridge as it buckled up and tragically swallowed up so many cars. Our Carol Costello joining me here and Carol, you have video that is just unbelievable. What are we actually seeing?

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: Well this is what you're seeing. This is an ordinary traffic cam shot and you're seeing it right before the bridge collapse. Actually you see the bridge collapse right there and the smoke pouring out. You see cars turning around and driving the other way to avoid of course going over the edge. You see people running away and soon you'll see people running to help. And look at that guy right there. He is going back into his car, which is dangling on the edge, to get something from the passenger seat. We don't know what was so important.

MALVEAUX: It would be so interesting to talk to him because obviously I mean that must have been very frightening and very scary at the moment there...

COSTELLO: And probably pretty misguided because he should have just gotten the heck out of there. But that is the most fascinating bit of video that he would risk that by going into his car once again, but you know some of the other touching shots we see from this video are the people running into help because they don't know if this bridge is going to collapse at all. They don't know what is going to happen, but they go into help.

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: And you see him going into the trunk and into the car. And obviously some of the video also shows that the traffic actually changed. The cars stopped and if it had been continuing with the full traffic it could have been much, much worse, a lot of cars spilling over the edge there.

COSTELLO: Yes, you can see the traffic was sparse and that was a good thing, although there's a big backup beyond that shot that you cannot see. Those people are probably going to tell that guy to get the heck out of there.

MALVEAUX: That is unbelievable pictures, unbelievable video. Thank you so much, Carol.

COSTELLO: Sure.

MALVEAUX: And the race against time to rescue six trapped miners, dead or alive the mine owner vows to get those men out. We will take you live to Utah.

Plus former drug users can apply. The FBI loosens its rules to get more agents. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Tonight, Hillary Clinton has been taking a pounding from her presidential primary rivals. But her poll numbers are on the rise. And that just may make her opponents even more eager to pounce. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, this is just the kind of news that camp Clinton wants, a sign that maybe their candidate is breaking from the pack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all very much.

(APPLAUSE)

FOREMAN (voice-over): Hillary Clinton on the trail and on the rise in the national polls. The latest survey taken this weekend by "USA Today/Gallup" puts her 22 points ahead of her closest Democratic rival, Barack Obama and that's up from national polls last month.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: People see her experience as a clear advantage in a time of terrorist threat. They believe she's qualified to be president. She's ready to be president and every time, there's a confrontation between her and Senator Obama, she looks actually better.

FOREMAN: The Clinton and Obama campaigns do not see eye to eye over these numbers with the Clinton camp touting the poll and Obama's team dismissing it and looking to polls in the crucial early primary states.

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: Some polls in Iowa and New Hampshire are showing a virtual tie. Other polls in those states are showing a lead for Clinton, but by a much smaller margin than the national polls do.

FOREMAN: A chief Clinton strategist says as the senator from New York increases her lead nationally, she's likely to see more attacks from her rivals. Both Obama and John Edwards criticized Clinton this weekend for taking donations from lobbyists.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think my party, the Democratic Party, the party of the people ought to say from this day forward, we will never take a dime from a Washington lobbyist.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you don't think that lobbyists have too much influence in Washington, then I believe you probably have been in Washington too long.

CLINTON: I don't think based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe and anybody seriously believes I'm going to be influenced by a lobbyist or a particular interest group...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: As impressive as those national numbers are, however you must remember this -- there is no national primary. It is much closer in the early races and the actual election is still a long way off -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Tom Foreman for that report.

The son of Republican Rudy Giuliani says that his dad would make a great president, a vote of support you might not fine all that surprising from a candidate's child, except there is this, a report yesterday that Giuliani's daughter was listed online as a fan of Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Tensions between Giuliani and his children have been widely report, but 21-year-old Andrew Giuliani (ph) tells ABC News the feud has been over blown, but he also says that he respects his sister's political views. Seventeen-year-old Caroline Giuliani says her expression of interest in Obama's campaign should not be read as an endorsement.

And it is something no family should ever have to go through, the agonizing wait for any word of what's happened to their loved ones. We'll look at the families of those six-trapped miners.

And take her prisoner. That's what actress Mia Farrow tells Sudan. She's so passionate about an issue she is willing to exchange her freedom for that of another.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now -- American, United and other airlines are suing the CIA and FBI. They want to question 9/11 investigators. The airlines are being sued by families of victims of the attacks, who say the aviation industry should have known it was a target.

The Navy won't be able to use high-powered sonar in training exercise off the coast of southern California. A federal judge says the sonar could harm dozen of species of whale and marine mammals. The Navy says it will appeal.

And violent clashes broke out in the West Bank. Israeli police evicted dozens of Jewish settlers living illegally in Hebron. Some people were dragged away including children. Others pelted police with rocks, cement and oil.

Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Four miners narrowly escaped when Utah's Crandall Canyon mine suddenly caved in, but six other men are still hundreds of feet below ground. CNN's Ted Rowlands is joining us again from outside the mine. And Ted, what was been slowing down these rescuers?

ROWLANDS: Well, another problem with the mine early this morning, they had another event, if you will, in the mine. It was a jolt. And rescue workers had to stop their progress. In fact they lost some ground because coal from the edges came in and basically filled in a portion of the area where they were digging, so that set them back considerably.

They have started the drilling from the top of the mountain and from the side of the mountain trying to get access to where these six miners are. They know where they were. They just have not been able to communicate with them and now they're saying it may be two to three days before either this drilling or going through the middle will get them to the spot where they need to be.

Meanwhile, family members, they're in this school behind us, have gathered from around the region, waiting desperately for word whether or not their relatives are dead or they are alive.

Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Tough going. Thank you so much, Ted.

And the families that you just mentioned of the trapped miners are basically in seclusion as they await word of their fate. While family members are being kept out of the media spotlight, there is at least one local official has been in close contact with them.

Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I understand you have been very busy. Thank you for giving us a few moments of your time. I understand that you have been comforting the families. How are they holding up?

HUNTINGTON MAYER HILARY GORDON: The families seem to be doing very well. Obviously they have a lot of anxiety right now. And it's difficult to be patient under such circumstances. But I think the families are doing very well. These are very strong people. And we have just people made of gold in these areas and trust me; they pull through no matter what the circumstances are.

MALVEAUX: Tell us a little bit about the miners, who these people are.

GORDON: They have asked us to not disclose the names of the miners. They are people from the surrounding areas here. Not all of them live in Huntington. They do live in some of the surrounding towns. They're all married and have families. And so the families anxiously await for the men to come back.

MALVEAUX: Give us a sense of the mood there. You have been on the scene. You have been talking with family members and many people who are anxious. What is the mood like now as time passes?

GORDON: You know, they seem to be resolved to be patient. Bob Murray has basically told them that there will be -- everything's being done that possibly can be done. And it's just a question of time. This isn't one of those rescues that they can go in and do in a fast moment. It's one of those things that takes time.

MALVEAUX: We want to look at some of the methods being used in this recovery effort. This diagram is not to scale but it does give us an idea of what is happening at the Utah mine right now.

Crews are drilling away at the solid rock from the top of the mine. They hope to boar a two inch hole into the cavity so they can send down food and air. Crews are also using horizontal drilling techniques but the head of the mine says it is not an effective course of recovery. He cites geological conditions and the location of the miners. And the mine's owner says even if everything goes well, it could take several more days to reach the chamber where the miners are trapped. Mine safety investigator, David McAteer, joining us from Sheppard's Town, West Virginia, and how long do we think, in your expertise, knowing these conditions, can these six men survive?

DAVID MCATEER, MINE SAFETY INVESTIGATOR: Well, the miners have been in there roughly 40 hours now or almost 40 hours. And if they had their wits about them and could gather the water and supplies and lunches that they have, they might have the capacity to go on for another lengthy period of time.

We are not faced with the toxic atmospheres that we had in Sago and we're not faced with the fire conditions that we were in Aracoma Alma. So, we have a more stable situation. But it's also a situation that's fraught with risk because of the issue of these poor miners are facing a rather difficult and hard situation and the calmer that they can stay, the more subdued that they can stay, the longer that they can survive.

The question is, how fast can you get contact with them and how fast can you get communication with them and also how fast can you get any kind of substance to them once you do make communication and breakthrough.

MALVEAUX: Tell us how that would actually work? I understand they are going to be drilling a hole, trying to get to the miners, and at first, they'll try to establish communication and then try to actually put food down that hole.

MCATEER: According to Assistant Secretary Stickler, there are two efforts being made. One of two, a two and a half inch hole and the other eight and eight and half inch hole and those will be driven simultaneously in order to try to get the best opportunity to get to them. The two and half inch obviously started earlier. It was carried up to the site by helicopter.

And that drill rig began the process. These problems -- these difficulties -- these efforts frequently encounter difficulties. Whether it be a broken drill bit or whether it be a lost drill bit as was in the case of Quecreek or whether it be some conditions that they hadn't anticipated. So you're making this rescue effort up as you go. And so, you're going to have to bring in equipment and bring in materials, as the need develops so that you try to run two simultaneous drills. So that if one goes down, the other can continue to try to make the effort.

MALVEAUX: I'm sorry, how would you actually feed those trapped miners if you found them in a decent condition?

MCATEER: Well, the most recent example is the Chinese sent the miners milk. And it's a simple answer but milk has an awful lot of nutrients to it and that would be what you might start with, with a tube down even the small hole to provide them with milk or some other nutrient system.

Then you would try to drill the secondary hole, the eight and a half inch hole, to provide food down and other supplies.

Then you would try to look at the question of where you need to drill the third hole, to drill a hole sufficiently large to take the capsule down to put each man in the capsule and bring them as was done in Quecreek.

MALVEAUX: Based on your experience and the time that has elapsed so far, 36 hours, are you still optimistic now that those miners have a good chance of survival?

MCATEER: In the mining business, we're always optimistic that they have a good chance of survival. We have to be. These are difficult circumstances. The miners, as the mayor mentioned and their families, are strong people. They will rally together has been the case for 100 years and they will try to work together to try to conserve their resources and support each other. We're very hopeful and praying that this comes to a positive outcome.

MALVEAUX: Thank you. We pray with you. Mr. McAteer, thanks once again.

Americans got a wake up call about mine safety more than a year ago. That is when 12 miners were killed in an explosion at the Sago mine in West Virginia.

Just months later Congress passed and President Bush signed the most significant mine safety legislation in three decades. It includes these key provisions, hefty new civil and criminal fines on mines that violate federal safety standards.

Mines are also required to store more oxygen underground to help keep trapped crews alive. And mines must have two experienced rescue teams available for quick response operations.

And Hollywood hostage offer, Mia Farrow offers to be taken captive by the Sudanese government. Find out why she is resorting to extreme diplomacy.

Plus, Fidel Castro promises not to arrest them. The mystery of two Cuban boxers, they disappeared in Brazil. Denied they defected, claimed they were drugged then got back on a plane to Cuba. A closer look at what really happened.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: A well-known actress is offering a most unusual deal to the Sudanese government. Mia Farrow wants to trade in her freedom for someone else's. CNN's State Department Correspondent, Zain Verjee has the details on this story.

Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, Mia Farrow's making Sudan an offer she hopes they won't refuse.

Hollywood hostage offer, Mia Farrow's offering to be taken prisoner by Sudan's government, on one condition, she wants them to let a sick rebel leader go free. On her web site, Farrow pleads with Sudan's president, exchange my freedom for his. He is Sola Mon Jamus (ph). He's in a U.N. hospital being treated for abdominal problems, afraid to leave, fearful of arrest. Farrow wants him to be allowed out of Sudan safely for better care. He's seen by many as a key player in the Wild West Darfur region. Farrow, a UNICEF good will ambassador, is getting mixed reviews. A plus for shining a light on Darfur, F for offering to be a hostage.

ANNE SCHROEDER, POLITICS.COM: I'm sort of confused what good this does aside from putting Mia Farrow back in the limelight.

VERJEE: On the phone, Farrow told us she was serious.

MIA FARROW: I would do this in a heart beat.

VERJEE: Do you think it's over the top?

FARROW: I think the circumstances in Darfur are over the top. It's is a signal of honestly of desperation and disgust.

VERJEE: The State Department says Hollywood's attention to causes like Darfur is generally a good thing. But Mia Farrow's offer may not go down well with diplomats.

TOM CASEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I certainly know our consular officials in Sudan would probably not appreciate having any American citizen prisoners there.

VERJEE: Rights group say at least 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur. Millions of refugees are running for their lives, trapped in camps in neighboring Chad.

FARROW: Keep shooting. Contact our leadership and make it clear we care about the people of Darfur and that it is not acceptable to stand by and watch them die. VERJEE: Peace negotiations for Darfur are in the works. The Sudanese government has agreed to a U.N. resolution that puts troops on the ground to police Darfur as well as to protect civilians.

Andrew Natsios, the U.S. Special Envoy to Darfur, says he's encouraged.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Zain.

We are also watching a story about two Cuban boxers, who disappeared in Brazil, then suddenly returned to Cuba.

Our Morgan Neil reports from Havana.

MORGAN NEIL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two-time Olympic champion boxer, yet here in his apartment, he's raising a pig for slaughter. It's not hard to understand why he left the Cuban team during the Pan American games in Brazil in search of opportunity.

What is hard to understand is why he wouldn't turn. That's just what he and a fellow boxer did.

In the streets of Havana the reaction was puzzled. When someone takes a step forward, they can't look back, says this avid sports fan. I think their first step was wrong. But they should have taken one, two three steps. You don't turn back.

He disappeared from the athlete's villa during the games in Rio de Janeiro. Shortly after, a German sports agency announced the two had signed five year contracts. Then last Thursday, the two were arrest at a resort near Rio where police said they'd partied and run up a big tab. The two were then moved to keep them away from sports agents.

FELICIO LATERCO, BRAZILIAN FEDERAL POLICE INSPECTOR (through translator): We have to maintain secrecy in order to avoid the agents locating them.

NEIL: Then on Sunday, Cuban television announced that the boxers returned to Havana early that morning.

Ailing lead Fidel Castro wrote an essay vowing that the two wouldn't face arrest and would be given jobs fitting their experience.

On Sunday, Castro wrote that the press would have access to the boxers if the boxers desired. Now we don't know whose decision it is but so far they're not talking. But here at his apartment, we were able to talk to his sister-in-law.

How has this been for the family, I asked. A nightmare, she says. She says, he's with his wife and kids at a government house. She shows us his numerous medals and pictures of the kids. The family is relieved to have him back, she says, but as to why he came back or whether he'll ever fight again, for now, she says, we just don't know. Morgan Neil, CNN, Havana.

MALVEAUX: Drugs and the FBI, the feds allow former frequent drug users to join up.

Plus Jihad, the musical, a lyrical look at terrorism draws protests and applause.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Well, some people who hope to enforce the law are being given a pass for previously breaking it.

Our Brian Todd joining me again.

Brian, this concerns drug use.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sure does, Suzanne. An FBI official I spoke with, just laughed if I asked J. Edgar Hoover would turn over in his grave about this but the bureau is trying to widen the net for potential recruits and that means changing a very rigid standard.

They no longer have to fit J. Edgar Hoover's ideal of the straight-laced g-man with a pristine past. The FBI now relaxing its standard for past drug use among potential recruits.

JEFFREY BERKIN, FBI DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: We came to realize that for one thing, our standards were a little bit out of step with the rest of the intelligence community and with most law enforcement organizations.

TODD: Under the old rules, FBI applicants could have used marijuana no more than 15 times in their lives, five times for harder drugs. Now the number of times isn't considered. But they still have to swear they haven't smoked pot in the past three years or done harder drugs in the past ten.

With the number of drug usages wiped out, is the bureau opening itself up to people who might have had addictions, even long ago.

BERKIN: A person who has a history of actual addiction is not going to meet our standards. The way we're looking at our drug policy is to permit the experimental use of drugs at a time when a person may have been less mature, less experienced and still now be a different person.

TODD: FBI officials won't say if they've lost good candidates because of a more rigid drug policy, just that it's always been a challenge to get the best agents.

But a former FBI agent says this about the bureau's competition.

GEORGE BAURIES, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Other agencies such as the CIA, NSA, DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Secret Service, all of these agencies, have progressed with very good programs. A career track, sometimes in a local state police agency with often just as good and sometimes better benefits makes it very competitive.

TODD: Even relaxed, the FBI standard of no drug use within at least three years is still pretty tough compared to other agencies of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies who would give us information. The CIA says no drug use over the past 12 months. Arlington County, Virginia police have the same window.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks. Very interesting. Brian Todd and our own Carol Costello monitoring stories that are incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Carol, what are you looking at?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things, Suzanne.

In Afghanistan, Taliban militants target a base with U.S. troops. A group of 75 Taliban militants tried to overrun the base in southern Afghanistan. More than 20 militants are dead after this attack. That's according to a statement from the U.S. lead coalition.

The Federal Reserve is not raising or lower interest rates at least for now. The central bank decided today to keep the federal funds rate at 5.25 percent. That means bank's prime interest rates for many credit cards and home equity loans stays unchanged.

In a statement, the fed notes that the financial and housing markets have been volatile.

Watch this. The father of murder victim loses it after the man who killed his son admits it in court. After Antonio Clifford entered his guilty plea, Mike Sweat lunged at Clifford. He took a swing as you can see. He tried to choke Clifford before police finally managed to pull him off. Clifford said he killed 28-year-old Joshua Sweat in a drug deal turned robbery. It took dozens of officers to restrain Sweat and restore order. Authorities say they don't expect to file any charges against the father.

New pictures of the lava flow that is still spewing from a fisher in the side of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano. The eruption started two weeks ago. The lava flow was a mile long and more than 100 feet wide. It's part of the eruption of Kilauea, which has been going on for 23 years now.

Back to you, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK. Carol, thanks so much.

And now let's go to Rick Sanchez to find out what is coming up in the next hour on OUT IN THE OPEN.

Rick, what are you working on? RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here's what we're going to have for you right here at the top of the hour, Suzanne.

First of all, how much progress are rescuers making toward finding those trapped coal miners in Utah? We've been looking into this all day long. We've got reporters on the scene.

I'm also going to be taking you tonight to a city with a murderous reputation. Three kids there, when we waked up this morning, we learned were killed execution style over the weekend. But the mayor sits down with me. In fact, we have a chat, a walk throughout his city. He says his city's getting a bad rap. How is that possible? We try to reconcile it. Tonight, the mean streets of Newark out in the open.

Suzanne, back to you.

MALVEAUX: Looking forward to the show. Thanks, Rick.

And Jihad the musical. A play that bills itself a mad cap gallop through the wacky world of international terrorism. Jeanne Moos on the songs and the protests here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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MALVEAUX: Here's a look at some of the Hot Shots coming in from our friends at the Associated Press.

In Bulgaria, a woman looks over damage to her town caused by torrential rains and severe flooding that killed at least seven people.

At Walter Reed Hospital, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell stands next to an injured soldier before presenting him with a purple heart.

In Buenos Aires, cars struggle on the road after a snow storm that cause a blackout and forced the airport to close.

And, in Brooklyn, a 4-year-old protest being splashed in a sidewalk pool.

That's Hot Shots, pictures worth a thousand words.

And now a playful look at terrorism is raising eyebrows as audiences get their first look.

Jeanne Moos with a sneak peek of Jihad the Musical.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I could tell you all about the Jihad the Musical but better let the musical speak for itself.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: Now playing on stage in Scotland.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: There's no ignoring this at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: It's billed as a mad cap gallop through the wacky world of international terrorism.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: It's catchy, all right. But this is the showstopper already circulating on YouTube.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: Renowned perhaps like the producer.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: And why not Jihad the Musical when we've already had Menopause the Musical. While menopause tends not to kill people. Terrorism does. As they say in the producers --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talk about bad taste.

MOOS: An electronic petition posted on the British Prime Minister's web site asked him to condemn the tasteless portrayal of terrorism but even a petition seems like a joke with signatories ranging from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's President, to Osama Bin Laden's ghost.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: The plot centers on a young Afghan peasant who must decide whether to side with the terrorists.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: And the reviews, well the reviews online have been fabulous. Thank god for satire five stars, it's incredibly funny. I hope none of the artists gets killed.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

MOOS: The real Osama would probably pan Jihad the Musical. Only dedicate western culture would dream up a toe tapper about terrorism.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

MALVEAUX: Thanks for joining us. We are on every day from four to six and 7 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Up next, "OUT IN THE OPEN" with Rick Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: Hey Suzanne, I want to show you something. You see that huge mountain back there? So far finding the six men inside of them is proving even harder than trying to find six needles in a giant hay stack. This is a challenge.

Tonight, we're bringing it "OUT IN THE OPEN."

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