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Sinkhole Forces Evacuation of California Neighborhood; Trafficking Babies?

Aired October 3, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of breaking news tonight, including hundreds of trapped miners being rescued as we speak.
Also tonight, the industry of international adoption. And, yes, it's an industry, a big industry. Thousands of Americans adopt babies from other countries, but one of the easiest and most popular places to adopt children from now is coming under scrutiny.

According to critics, the system there has buyers and brokers and, in the eyes of one top government official, an assembly line. Think about that, an assembly line for babies. Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also, a new theory in a woman's death chained and handcuffed at the Phoenix airport. New theory, old problem. Should police have known better?

Also tonight, new video smuggled out of Burma, video the government there doesn't want you to see. It shows what people are so afraid of, a place where hundreds of monks are believed to be in prison, and no telling how many are dead.

We begin with more breaking news, homes under increasing threat in California tonight, as the earth takes a bite out of one of the wealthiest pieces of real estate in the country, the ground crumbling and sinking and sliding.

Take a look. The picture tells the story. We're talking about a massive sinkhole landslide gobbling up hillside property, very expensive property at that. And, right now, the danger appears to be growing. More homes have been evacuated.

So, we go to Southern California, La Jolla, just north of San Diego, where CNN's Kara Finnstrom joins us now.

Kara, what is the situation?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, what we have got here is this large block of hillside that is moving.

City engineers say they have known for a couple of weeks now that this has been happening. They have been scrambling to try and stabilize some of these homes. But, before they could do that, this morning, this community got a huge display of the forces of nature at work here, a stretch of road actually just gave way, the earth falling down and pushing out dirt, earth, trees down a hillside. The head city engineer tells us that four homes appear to have been completely destroyed by this. And we do know that 111 were immediately evacuated. City officials are taking a closer look at all of those homes, trying to determine the extent of the damage done to them and whether those homes continue to be at risk from all of this shifting of the earth.

We spoke with one of the homeowners who was evacuated, and he saw all of this happen.


RUSSELL MOORE, EVACUATED FROM HOME: We watched the trees snapping and cracking and more boulders come down to our feet. And we were witnessing this move, not in a dramatic, oh, my God, here comes the dirt, but to see this slow avalanche and hear the groaning of the earth and hear the snapping of the trees.


FINNSTROM: And city engineers tell us that their real concerns about this area started mounting about two weeks ago. That's when residents started seeing these large cracks. A water main broke.

They sent up some consultants, who actually took a close look at this area. And, last night, they advised four homeowners in this area that they should not sleep in their homes, because they there was such imminent danger from of the shifting of the earth. They had no idea, of course, how prophetic and how timely that advice would be, because city engineers tell us it was the home of those four homeowners that today have been completely destroyed.

No one was hurt in this. That is -- that is quite remarkable, they say, and, hopefully, those warnings, you know, were an amazing part of this consulting to -- that helped with that situation.

Now, I want to give you a little bit of background on what's been happening in this area. They have had stability here -- problems here before. Cutting and filling are some of the terms that are used to describe the type of building that took place here about 45 years ago, where they actually cut into the hillside and then filled the area underneath.

And we're told that that created a lot of instability on this mountainside, on this hillside, so that, when this shifting of the earth took place, these nice little even plots of land that they try to create started tilting and sliding. And, as you saw today, some of the earth just gave way -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kara, these pictures are just incredible.

Just, in terms of the scale of this, I know it's some 15 feet deep. But how long a sinkhole is this? I mean, how does it compare to like a football field?

FINNSTROM: Well, we have not actually been able to get up to the actual sinkhole, but we know it is four homes wide. It's those four homes that were immediately impacted.

And, oddly enough, the city engineers say some of homes on either side don't appear, you know, as the shifting settles down, as -- as it appears to have largely done today, don't appear to be at immediate risk. But they are going to try and reevaluate all of that tonight.

COOPER: All right, Kara, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.

Now a rescue that is going on as we speak, with thousands of miners trapped more than a mile down, thousands surrounded not just by the earth, but by millions and millions of dollars in gold oar. It's happening in the mining town of Carletonville, South Africa.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is on the scene.

Robyn, how did this happen?


Well, it appears from the accounts that we have that a pipe burst, which basically tripped off the electricity. And, so, the only exit, the lift, was unable to work. That's one report we're getting. There have been a few other reports that the shaft collapsed, and we can't confirm that.

But, either way, what we do know is that 3,200 miners, men and women, have been trapped underground beneath me, 7,000 feet or about a mile underground, for the past 18 hours or so.

But the good news is, is that a rescue operation is under way as we speak, a dramatic one at that, because a secondary lift is being put into operation now. And, slowly, 75 men at a time are being hoisted back up to the surface. We know 150 are back on the surface behind me.

They say they were scared. Mostly, though, they were hungry. One of them was eating a sandwich and drinking some water, just relieved to be eating and drinking some water.

But, all in all, this seems to be a good-news story, that these 3,000 men and women will be out of this trapped mine within the next 10 hours or so -- Anderson.

COOPER: Robyn Curnow reporting from the scene -- Robyn, appreciate that update.

A lot more to bring you tonight, including this: Americans adopting babies from Guatemala and some shocking allegations that kids are being bought and sold and even stolen, in some cases, from their mothers. It's a heartbreaking dilemma -- a lot of American families waiting for word on the babies that they had hoped to adopt. The whole thing has been shut down. What's going on? We are "Keeping Them Honest." tonight.

We will have details in just 60 seconds.


COOPER: Tonight, our investigation of something that's been in the headlines a lot these days: global adoptions. Angelina Jolie, Madonna, other celebrities have done it. Tens of thousands of Americans adopt from other countries every year.

It sounds like a win-win, poor mothers in Third World countries giving up their kids for a better life in America. It does not always work out that way or that well, however.

We're focusing tonight on one country, Guatemala, that sends thousands of babies each year to an adoptive parents in America and an agency that in facilitates a lot those adoptions. Now, the allegations in this story may shock you.

CNN's Harris Whitbeck and producer Rose Arce tonight are "Keeping Them Honest."


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sean and Ellen Darcy wanted a family. So, like thousands of other Americans, they traveled to Guatemala. Their adopted son, Dylan, thrived in suburban Boston. So, they decided to go back for a girl.

Guatemala's government says the country provides more babies per capita than any other country in the world, an average of 17 a day to the United States.

ELLEN DARCY, ADOPTIVE MOTHER: We contacted them probably early March, end of February. And, within two weeks, Carolina was born and we were told that we could proceed with this adoption. These were before we went to visit her.

WHITBECK: An American agency named Casa Quivira told the Darcys they could visit baby Carolina...


WHITBECK: ... and have her home within six months. But, without warning, one night in August, police raided Casa Quivira and seized 46 babies, including Carolina.

They arrested the agency's lawyers and charged them with child abduction. No plea has yet been entered, but the agency's owners deny doing anything illegal.

Prosecutors allege that some babies were conceived simply for adoptions and that other mothers were coerced into giving up their children. Now Guatemala's chief prosecutor plans to investigate allegations several other U.S. agencies trafficked in babies. And the Guatemalan government says, it won't allow any more American adoptions under the current system after the 1st of the year.

But what will happen to the 46 babies seized from Casa Quivira? DARCY: We want to know. We do not want to complete an adoption that is anything but completely legal and where this little girl has been relinquished willingly.

WHITBECK (on camera): Just a few weeks ago, this room was teeming with Guatemalan babies, all destined for adoption in the United States. This is the crib where baby Carolina spent her entire life. Now it is considered part of a criminal investigation.

(voice-over): More than a decade ago, the Guatemalan president gave Casa Quivira permission to operate a nonprofit association for children. But Guatemala's Department of Social Services refused a license to foster children for adoption. Claiming presidential permission, Casa Quivira did it anyway.

So far, the agency claims they have sent about 1,000 children to the U.S. for a fee of $30,000 each.

(on camera): Casa Quivira, in your eyes, wasn't an orphanage, wasn't a home for children. What was it?

CARMEN WENNIER, GUATEMALAN MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE: It was the end of the assembling line. They had the final product, and they had to sell it at the best price.

WHITBECK (voice-over): Guatemala has had a simple adoption process. Lawyers can solicit birth mothers and process adoptions with little oversight. We wanted to see what kind of oversight there had been in the case of baby Carolina.

We started by interviewing the midwife whose name appeared on the birth certificate. As for Carolina's mother, Casa Quivira gave authorities an address just across town. But, after searching for more than an hour, we found, the address doesn't exist.

It's not just the Guatemalan government that's concerned about shady adoptions from here. The U.S. is so dubious that, in August, it began demanding double DNA tests to prove children had not been stolen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just the first DNA

WHITBECK: But Guatemalan officials say that won't stop mothers who give birth just to sell their babies.

So, with a suspect birth record and no viable address, we pressed Casa Quivira to produce Carolina's mother. We were introduced to this woman, who asked us not to show her face. She came accompanied by another woman she called her translator.

We showed her a picture of Carolina.

(on camera): Is this your baby?

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, when we come back, the purported mother's surprising response to that question and some instructions from that so-called translator.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Thousands of babies a year, allegations that some of them were conceived solely for adoption, Guatemalan lawyers for one American adoption agency charged with child abduction.

In the course of following the adoption of one such baby, CNN's Harris Whitbeck and producer Rose Arce met up with the little girl's purported mother. Here's what they discovered.


WHITBECK (voice-over): Our search for the truth about why baby Carolina's mother had given her up for adoption had taken us so far to a suspect birth record and a nonexistent address.

But Casa Quivira produced this woman, whose first DNA test matched baby Carolina's. She spoke to us in a Mayan dialect through someone she called her translator. We showed her a picture of Carolina.

(on camera): Is this your baby?

(voice-over): She didn't seem to recognize the picture, and she stumbled on Carolina's birth date, initially saying she was born in April, not March. I asked if money problems motivated her to give up her baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I would love to raise my child, but I can't afford to. I have other children, and I'm too poor.

WHITBECK: But then the so-called translator jumped in.

"Tell them you took no money for the baby," she told her in her Mayan dialect. "Say that you want her back with Casa Quivira."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My child is not a chicken to sell.

WHITBECK: Skeptical of our interview, we challenged one of Casa Quivira's owners, Sandra Gonzalez who insisted the mother gave up her baby because she could not afford to keep her.

(on camera): Are you confident that every baby that has passed through Casa Quivira was a legitimate baby, a child that had a legitimate need to be adopted?

SANDRA GONZALEZ, CASA QUIVIRA: Yes. Some of them, there are very bad stories, like rapes. They come from prostitution. Their mothers would have a bunch of kids, and they can't support this kid anymore. Some of them have come with -- very ill. They go directly to the hospital.

WHITBECK: But are these documents enough to prove that there is no baby stealing going on, no coercion going on, no baby trafficking going on?


WHITBECK: Is this enough?

GONZALEZ: Yes. For us, it is.

WHITBECK (voice-over): Casa Quivira says it is fighting to get adoptions back on track.

Meanwhile, of the 46 babies seized by the government, 38 remain in foster care.

(on camera): Many of the children from Casa Quivira were placed in foster homes like this one, run by Shyrel and Steve Osborne in Guatemala City. And even here, there are questions about the origins of these children. Cheryl believes that these two little girls are identical twins, but they will be separated today. One of them will be turned over to American adoptive parents as part of an adoption that was run by Casa Quivira.

And then there is the question about little Carolina.

You're living the milestones in a baby's life that the parents should be living.

SHYREL OSBORNE, FOSTER MOTHER: That the parents should be living, absolutely. They should be being smiled at and touched by their -- by their mothers, right?

WHITBECK: But, in this case, there's a couple up in Boston who is just as willing to do that.

OSBORNE: Yes, absolutely.

WHITBECK: It's kind of a tough dilemma, isn't it?

OSBORNE: Because there's corruption in the system, which birth mothers were really in dire straits and really needed to -- they really couldn't care for their child.

WHITBECK (voice-over): This week, the U.S. government urged Americans to stop adopting from Guatemala until the country can answer those questions. But American couples still fill the hotels, hoping to take home children they believe desperately need new parents.

JAMES M. DERHAM, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO GUATEMALA: The amount of money that is involved in this process, in a country that's very poor, almost all the babies come from the indigenous regions here in Guatemala, in many cases, people who are very unsophisticated. And do they really understand what kind of decisions they are making?

WHITBECK: But for baby Carolina and hundreds of others, the decisions were made. And parents like the Darcys sit in the U.S., hoping an adopted baby boy or girl will soon make their families complete.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Antigua, Guatemala.


COOPER: Such a difficult situation for those parents.

You heard the allegations. We are going to speak with director of that group, Casa Quivira, Cliff Phillips, after this short break.


COOPER: Well, a lot has been said tonight about Casa Quivira, the children's home that Guatemalan authorities recently raided.

Joining us now is the director, Cliff Phillips.

Mr. Phillips, thanks for being with us. You are saying that everything you're doing is above board. How come, when we followed up on the one little girl, Carolina, the midwife listed on the birth certificate said she didn't deliver her; the address that you guys gave us didn't exist, and the alleged mother wasn't even sure what month Carolina was born in?

CLIFFORD PHILLIPS, DIRECTOR, CASA QUIVIRA: Oh, it's actually very common for us that a birth mother loses track of dates and time. That's not -- not something uncommon.

COOPER: What about the phony address and the -- the midwife?

PHILLIPS: We don't know that it's a phony address.

I was just told this, this afternoon by your staff that they had looked for the address and couldn't find the address. It could be a mistake, but it's not an address that we would have given to produce a document. It would have been an address that would have been given by the birth mother to the family court.

COOPER: But that's something that your lawyers -- I mean, basically, you guys take charge of the whole process on the Guatemalan side of it. You have lawyers who find these women, so, I would think you would know, I mean, where this woman lived.

PHILLIPS: Well, we don't have -- we don't have lawyers who find the women. These birth mothers come to us after they have given birth, and they present us with documents that are generated by the Guatemalan government.

Their cedulas, their I.D. cards, birth certificates are generated by the civil registrars. So, these are not documents that are in our control to produce. And, if it has an error in it or bad address, that's not something that we produced.

COOPER: One government administer in the piece said your company is the end of a baby assembly line. You said that you categorically don't pay birth mothers.

But lawyers in Guatemala are free to find mothers any way they can, and the -- the system really has no government oversight; is that correct?

PHILLIPS: Oh, certainly, there's government oversight. We -- a case has to be gone through the family court, the Procuraduria General de la Nacion, the PGN. The solicitor general's office has to give a favorable opinion before the case can be approved. And then once...

COOPER: But everybody knows you go to Guatemala because, I mean, in China, there's government oversight. It takes three years to adopt a child. In Guatemala, you can get one in about a year for $30,000.

I mean, you guys basically have attorneys on staff now who have been arrested. You some have someone who does who a -- who certifies the signature, and it's basically a court process. It's not really oversight.


PHILLIPS: Well, the fact that it may be more efficient in Guatemala than China, you know, demonstrates all the more reason why adoptions should not be under state control, especially in a country like Guatemala, that is broke. How are they going to be able to process an adoption, when they can't even take care of the people that they have now?

COOPER: There are international standards for adoption. The Hague Convention outlines what standards governments should have. Guatemala now says, in shutting down your -- your group, they say, by January, they want to adopt these international standards. Do you support that?

PHILLIPS: I support it, but the way that you go about it, the way that Guatemala is going about it is -- I obviously don't support. Again, we were the nail that was sticking out the most, and the Guatemalan government hammered us the hardest.

We have a government ministry agreement to work since 1994. We have never had any difficulties in these past 13 years. We have the best foster care program, I would say, in Central America, not only in Guatemala. And, so, why has this occurred? Why has the raid occurred?

And why is the government not saying, if there were stolen children at Casa Quivira, where are the birth mothers who these stolen children belong to? How is it that the DNA matches that were done on all of these children have a 99-point-something percentile match, and that, in fact, of the 46 children, six have gone home, gone on to their adoptive families in the United States? Because the government of Guatemala has recognized the validity of those adoptions. COOPER: The court case continues. Cliff Phillips, we will be following it. Appreciate your time. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Thank you very much for having me, Mr. Cooper.

COOPER: Up next: another angle, Americans adopting babies not just from Guatemala, from around the world. So, how big might this problem be? Is there a problem? How can parents be sure their adopted kids were given up willingly? Really, that's the bottom line. We will investigate when 360 continues.


COOPER: We have been looking at Americans adopting infants from Guatemala and how elements of the system allegedly involve coercion, even raising babies expressly for adoption.

And we want to get some perspective now on the specifics, as well as the larger issue of global adoption.

Joining me for that is Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan Donaldson Adoption Institute here in New York.

Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: What is going on in Guatemala? I mean, you just heard from that man, who is saying, look, there's really not a problem. It's the most efficient system there is. Shouldn't there be some government oversight?

PERTMAN: There should be government oversight.

I think there is some government oversight. What we see now unfolding, not just in Guatemala, but in our own country and in other countries as well, is the consequence of generations not paying enough attention, not providing enough leadership, not providing enough oversight, not -- not having consequences.

And, when you have a system that's filled with money...

COOPER: Thirty thousand dollars in Guatemala.

PERTMAN: Thirty thousand dollars, and not for babies, but for the services involved in getting a baby. If -- when you have that much money, and it's unregulated and unmonitored, and we have not paid enough attention, then, you bet, some bad stuff is going to happen.

COOPER: In Guatemala, lawyers are free to just go out and basically try to find mothers. I mean, he says all the mothers come to them. That may be the case.

But -- but, certainly, there are plenty of lawyers. UNICEF says 1,000 to 1,500 kids are bought and sold every year in Guatemala. PERTMAN: Well, UNICEF -- I'm not sure how anybody knows the numbers.

If there's one -- if there's one, it's too many. This is a process that doesn't involve the movement of appliances from one home to the other. It is the change of a child's life, the formation of a family. We need to do a better job of it. And one is too many, and we need to get it right. I don't know that that means you shut everything down.

It means you establish a system in which children are treated humanely, in which the families are treated...


COOPER: And, I mean, I have gotten probably 100 e-mails from parents who are caught up in this Guatemalan situation.

PERTMAN: Absolutely.

COOPER: Your heart breaks for them. They are not doing anything wrong.

PERTMAN: That's right.

COOPER: They just want a -- they just want a baby. And they want it to be legal. They want it to be right. They don't want babies taken from their mothers.

So, how does Guatemala compare to the rest of the world? I mean, China takes up to three years to adopt a child. Is that because their system is just antiquated, as our last guest said, or just because they are overlooking it more?

PERTMAN: Some of -- well, some of each. It's a very efficient system in China. And I think that they do try to dot their I's. Guatemala should dot more of its I's.

What I hate to see is throwing out literally the baby with the bathwater. Some number of those kids in Guatemala and many other countries really need homes.

COOPER: Sure. Of course.

PERTMAN: Legitimately, the mothers make that decision. They really don't have a place to go, and adoption is the right option for them.

But what we do when we have systems that are under such scrutiny, under such question, is, we penalize those kids. I feel bad for the parents, but it's the children who we should be focused on. And they are the ones who are penalized. Where are they going to live?

And, so, it is incumbent, I think, on everybody in the profession to get it right for those children. COOPER: So, how do you, besides just fixing Guatemala, making some sort of standardized system with oversight, how does a parent who is in America now interested in adopting globally...


COOPER: ... how do you go about it? How do you know what is right and what is wrong?

PERTMAN: Well, the -- the easy answer, because there -- because it's really a hard process to get right -- the easy answer is to think about it as a consumer, not a consumer of children -- we are not buying and selling children, or we really have a screwed-up system and we need to scrap it or fix it -- but as a consumer of services.

When we pick a new doctor, when we pick a new car, when we have a service that is really important to our lives, we do our homework. But, too often, when we want to adopt a child, we say, well, it's costing $30,000. Let somebody do it.

No. Educate yourself. Talk to other parents. Do your due diligence. Find out who is doing good practice and stick with those. We are holding an ethics and adoption conference in Washington on the 15th and 16th of this month. And it is with a big -- a big focus on adoption from Guatemala, by the way. Good for you for doing that.

And the -- and the answer is that we are trying to help people get educated, because educated people make better decisions.


COOPER: ... talk to parents who have been through it.

Adam Pertman, appreciate the expertise.

PERTMAN: My pleasure.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

As we have been talking about, Guatemala is not the only popular destination for parents hoping to adopt kids. Here's the raw data. In 2006 the State Department issued nearly 6,500 visas to orphans from China coming to America. Guatemala was second with more than 4,000 visas given. It was followed by Russia, South Korea and then Ethiopia.

Up next in the program, it started with a woman making a scene at a airport and ended with that woman, a mother, dead, after being chained and handcuffed in police custody. Did the police overreact? Did they do the right thing? We sent CNN's Joe Johns to get some answers. His report after the short break.


COOPER: Medical examiners conducted the autopsy of a woman who died in police custody at a Phoenix Airport. Toxicology results will not able for a couple weeks but a lawyer hired by the family of Carol Gotbaum to watch the autopsy said he saw bruise marks all over her body. There is more. The attorney believes the bruises prove there was a struggle. But does it get us any closer to knowing what killed her? CNN' s Joe Johns has the latest tonight from Phoenix.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carol Ann Gotbaum was a struggling wife and mother and member of a powerful New York City family. Her step mother-in-law is the city's number two elected official.

BETSY GOTBAUM, NYC PUBLIC ADVOCATE: Carol was a wonderful, wonderful person. She was a wonderful mother. She was sweet and kind and loving.

JOHNS: Exactly how Gotbaum died is still a mystery. Complete autopsy reports are not in yet. But when you put together the hyper airport security in this country with a stressed out mom who just missed a plane to alcohol rehab, you start seeing how things could really go wrong. And they did. Michael Manning is the family's Arizona lawyer.

MICHAEL MANNING, LAWYER FOR GOTBAUM FAMILY: So she was denied boarding and that is what provoked her emotional meltdown.

JOHNS: Witnesses say Gotbaum screamed that she was not a terrorist, just a mother who needed help. And then struggled with police. Accounts of what happened next are now different from initial reports after her death at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The early speculation was that Gotbaum somehow choked herself with a chain used by police to restrain her when she was left alone in a police lockup.

But the family's lawyer and some experts say she more likely died of something called positional asphyxia, which can come from violent, forceful restraint, such as being placed face down with a knee in the back and handcuffs, creating an inability to breathe. Witnesses say that's how Phoenix police handled Gotbaum, and the family's lawyer says that might have led to her death.

MANNING: That's when you put the body in the position where the body cannot exchange bad air for good air. It can come from a compression of the diaphragm, it can come from bending forward, it can come from having your hands cuffed behind your back, it can come from a struggle in connection with a restraint. Lots of ways it can happen.

JOHNS: The danger of asphyxia when arresting people is well known to police across the country.

EDWARD MAMET, NYPD CAPT. (RET): A person who is thrown face down with someone on top of them cannot breathe. Their chest is compressed. So in a struggle to breathe, they push back to get this weight off of them. The people who are on them think they are fighting them and push harder to hold them down. And it sets off this cycle of compression of the chest and pushing back. JOHNS: Here's another issue. Phoenix police say they left Gotbaum alone to calm down for between six and eight minutes. Her family lawyer and some experts say that should not have happened.

MAMET: Someone like that would be considered emotionally disturbed person or an EDP. An EDP requires immediate medical attention. Now in the case of EDP, you have to get them under control because they are a danger to both themselves and the general public. But they require immediate medical assistance.

JOHNS (on camera): Phoenix police declined an interview. They have repeatedly said Gotbaum was vocally and physically disruptive in the holding room, but that their officers followed procedure. Several investigations are under way. The family's lawyer says he's not prepared to say whether he will file a lawsuit until the facts are in. Joe Johns, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.


COOPER: A lot of questions unanswered. Now here's Kiran Chetry with what's coming up tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING. Kiran?

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Anderson. Tomorrow we bring you the most news in the morning, including what some say is a disaster waiting to happen. Aging dams that held water back for half a century in America. We spent some time with families who say they are one storm way from losing it all and see just what's being done to prevent that. Tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING. It all begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Up next -- some politicians kiss babies. Others make them cry. We will see how Barack Obama handles this little interruption in a special live edition of "Raw Politics." Coming up.


COOPER: Just three short months from now voters in South Carolina are going to head to the polls in one of the country's first primaries of 2008. Now, how they vote could have a major impact on the presidential campaign, especially in the Republican race. CNN's Tom Foreman took the CNN Election Express to the capital of the Palmetto State and joins us now from there live. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Anderson. Welcome to South Carolina, the South, where Republicans traditionally do very, very well. And this will be the place where they get to try out their primary strategy for the first time. And that make it's very important in "Raw Politics."


FOREMAN (voice-over): The Republicans have to show they can play strong here and John McCain is doing his part. He has a long list of supporters and he's talking down the idea of conservatives putting up their own candidate, saying the party must stick together. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that if this is a fair and open contest, and I have every confidence it will be, that we should support the nominee of our party if we are Republicans.

FOREMAN: The problem is, moderate Republicans are also defecting. Last election, half of South Carolina's voters called themselves Republicans. That's down a third. Blease Graham from the University of South Carolina, tell us why ...

COLE BLEASE GRAHAM: It's kind of a blunting or muting of the original attractive Republican message, which was conservative on taxing and spending, conservative on domestic policy and somewhere that has gotten lost.

FOREMAN: Democrats, meanwhile, are celebrating. Their front runner, Hillary Clinton, picked up a big teachers' union endorsement and now has more than 50 percent support from Democrats in a new poll. Numbers like those usually bring a title -- nominee.

Barack Obama, not giving up. In second but running cool as the baby starts crying at a campaign stop.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know. He's outraged too about Blackwater.

FOREMAN: And guess who is making money news? Ron Paul. The Texas congressman and Republican darling the Internet crowd raked in $5 million in the last quarter of fund-raising. That's about as much as we think John McCain will report.


FOREMAN (on camera): Ron Paul supporters are not many but they are mighty. If you can get elected on passion alone, these guys would have him way up near the top. Because they are so dedicated to this candidate. More than almost anybody you see out here on the campaign trail. Let's see if it turns into more money and maybe some votes in "Raw Politics." Anderson?

COOPER: Five million. Not bad, Ron. Thanks very much, Tom. Appreciate it.

Just ahead -- chilling, new pictures from Burma. Pictures the government there does not want you to see. Another smuggled video. There's been relatively quiet in the streets of the nation's former capital. Some say too quiet. Where have all of the monks gone? Where are the protesters? Are they actually being hunted down now in the streets? What is this former school really being used for? A lot of questions when 360 continues.


COOPER: That video smuggled out of Burma, also known as Myanmar shows soldiers beating protesters during last week's democracy demonstrations. That video smuggled out. We showed it to you exclusively last night. The official death toll is just 10. Dissident groups say as many as 200 people may have been killed and thousands more detained. Today the arrests continued. Overnight dozens of people were reportedly dragged from their homes for so- called questioning.

Meantime, take a look at this video shot today in Burma's former capital, Yangon. There do not appear to be former monks on the street. And see the building right there? It's a former school that is allegedly used as a kind of detention camp for many detainees, including many monks.

To most of us, Burma seems a long way away and many of us do not really know much about the country or the struggle for democracy there.

Here is a quick look at the country and the shadowy generals now running it.


COOPER (voice-over): It's a country shrouded in secrecy, plagued in decades by violence. The military junta that controls it today has ruled with an iron fist since it ousted the last dictatorship in 1988.

A year later the generals changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar to rid the country of its British colonial legacy. The United States, Great Britain and democracy advocates around the world refused to recognize the name change.

The man behind the shadowy regime is a 74-year-old senior general tamed Than Shwe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a really kind of paranoid and xenophobic and unpredictable person.

COOPER: Than Shwe controls 400,000 troops, one of the largest armies in Asia. They live in isolated barracks, cut off from civilians. He has lived in isolation as well, ever since without warning he moved the capital of the country from the city of Yangon to a remote jungle outpost just two years ago.

JOSH KURLANTZICK, SCHOLAR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Some people think that Than Shwe's astrologer told him that was a good idea. That wouldn't be so out of left field. Than Shwe as thought of himself as a modern day king. And in the past Burmese kings would make their mark, to show their greatness, they would build new capitals as kind of monuments to themselves.

COOPER: Than Shwe spent most of his life in military service, never graduating from high school and rarely traveling outside the country. In recent years as his health declined, he remained sequestered in the remote capital, only traveling to the old capital of Yangon last year for his daughter's lavish wedding. The event, show here in these exclusive pictures is reported to have cost more than $300,000. And brought in $50 million in gifts.

KURLANTZICK: That was a huge shocker. Because this is one of the poorest countries in Asia, really that has -- the economy has been run into the ground. Here you have this general and their daughter living this incredibly lavish lifestyle.

COOPER: But outrage in Burma is quickly, often violently stamped out. In 1988 the army opened fire into masses of peaceful protesters, killing more than 3,000. In 1990 the junta actually allowed free elections assuming they would win. But when pro-democracy activist Aung Sung Suu Kyi won in a land slide, she was imprisoned. The government has kept her under house arrest ever since.

The junta has detained and tortured countless other political prisoners. They have also led a brutal military campaign against ethnic groups in the country, sending a flood of refugees into neighboring Thailand. The violent reaction to recent demonstrations, just another chapter in Burma's long history of suffering.


COOPER: Just ahead -- we will talk to the acting U.N. ambassador on the ground in Burma right now about the chilling visit her staff made in recent days to more than a dozen monasteries. Where have all of the monks gone? We will be right back.


COOPER: As we reported before the break, the military crackdown in Burma took a new and chilling turn with reports of dozens of people being rounded up for so-called questioning. Meantime the country's Buddhist monks who backed the uprising are reportedly being forced out of their monasteries. Many are said to be in detention. What has happened to them? Joining me now on the phone is Shari Villarosa, chief of the U.S. Mission in Burma.

Shari - Villarosa thanks for being with us. You visited some of the monasteries around the country in recent days. What you have found?

SHARI VILLAROSA, ACTING U.S. AMBASSADOR IN MYANMAR (on phone): Well, we visited monasteries here in Rangoon. We have not been able to visit any outside. But it's disturbing because we found many that have been vacated. We've found others that have military barricades around them. And we have seen a few that seem to be open again but with a significantly reduced number of monks.

COOPER: Reports out of Burma suggest hundreds of protesters might have been killed, thousands detained. Is it true that military police are still hunting other protesters?

VILLAROSA: We continue to see reports that during the middle of the night the authorities are going around and making more arrests.

COOPER: Do you have any idea how many people have been arrested? VILLAROSA: There's a curfew in effect and so it's like 2:00 in the morning and people are getting knocks on the door and they are taking people away.

COOPER: Do you have any accurate numbers of how many people have been detained at this point?

VILLAROSA: No, but we suspect that it's in the thousands now. This has been going on, actually, since late August.

COOPER: So you think thousands of people are now in custody?


COOPER: What -- what can be done? I mean, a lot of people around the United States are watching this, want to know what they can do. What can anyone do? Or what can the U.S. do to try to influence events on the ground?

VILLAROSA: Well, I think it's very important that everybody realize what is going on, express their outrage, push for change. The United States has long advocated change in Burma, peaceful change. Democratic change. That's what the people of Burma want. Now the rest of the international community is beginning to realize what -- how this military keeps power.

And I think the fact people are paying attention, they are interested in involved. I know how the news cycles work and things disappear but this -- this military regime tries to keep power by controlling information. So if they succeed in shutting down, then people should not think that everything is OK, but they should be very, very concerned that things must be getting even worse.

COOPER: And we are showing our viewers right now exclusive pictures we've obtained that have been smuggled out of Burma. Protesters, peaceful protesters, men without weapons, are just literally being beaten in the streets. Charges d'Affaires Villarosa, we appreciate your perspective tonight. Thank you. We will continue to follow this story.

Because simply the military government of Burma does not want us to, does not anyone to, no one. They don't want anyone to know what is really happening there right now.

Still to come, a check on our top stories. An accident in a gold mine trapping more than 3,000 miners. A rescue effort now under way.

And in Southern California, a sinkhole swallows a home and appears to be growing. More evacuations. We'll have the latest.

And newly released video of Princess Diana showing what she did on the day she died. See it for yourself when 360 continues.


COOPER: Just ahead -- the "Shot of the Day." Never-before-seen images of Princess Diana's final day. First Gary Tuchman joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin. Gary?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, hello to you. Recapping tonight's breaking news. The rescue is under way for the 3,200 miners who are trapped more than a mile underground. Power has been restored to their gold mine, which is north of Johannesburg, South Africa. The miners became trapped when a broken water pipe knocked out electricity to the elevator that carries the men out of the mine. A secondary left has now taken them out and it could take up to a day to retrieve them all.

In La Jolla, California, officials expanded evacuations around a massive landslide. Forcing people living in 111 homes to leave. The hilltop collapse destroyed four homes, damaged several damaged others and created a 50-yard hole in a four-lane road. There are no reports of injuries.

President Bush has vetoed a bill that would have added $35 million to a children's health insurance program over five years. Mr. Bush said he considers the bill a step towards federalizing medicine. Senate majority leader Harry Reid called the veto "heartless."

And get your toys now for the holidays. Industry watchers warn today that because of additional safety tests and inventory cuts, some of the year's hottest gifts might be sold out weeks before Christmas. Every year, Anderson, there is always a couple toys that are hard to get. This year should be a lot harder.

COOPER: Christmas already? I'm not sure I'm ready.

Time now for the "Shot of the Day." Previously unseen video and pictures of Princess Dana taken just hours before she died a decade ago that came out today. They were shown to the jury at the British inquest into her death. They are from security cameras at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The video showing Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed in an elevator at the hotel, smiling and exchanging some glances in what may have seemed like an ordinary day for them.

And then there is this video from a little while later. You can see Diana and Dodi holding hands at the imperial suite where they were staying.

Perhaps the most unsettling picture, this taken by the paparazzi only minutes after Diana, Dodi and their driver would be killed in the car crash -- minutes before. You can see the reflection of the photographer's flash in the glasses of the driver Henri Paul. The only survivor, the man on the left, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, the coroner in charge of the inquest is using these pictures to put together all the circumstances up to the crash.

Up next -- the scene of the La Jolla landslide plus an adoption investigation. Americans adopting babies from Guatemala and some shocking allegations that children are being bought and sold and some even stolen from their mothers. We are covering all the angles ahead.


COOPER: A lot of breaking news tonight including hundreds of trapped miners being rescued as we speak. Also tonight, the industry of international adoption, and yes, it's an industry, a big business. Thousands of Americans adopt babies from other countries but one of the easiest and most popular places to adopt children from now is coming under scrutiny.