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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Economic Recovery and Takes; President Obama & Your Money; Jackson Custody Decision; Tracking Malaria's Origins; The Manson Murders 40 Years Later
Aired August 3, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Tonight, a boost for the economy, but does it also mean a boost for your taxes to pay for it? We'll take a look at that.
Also, Randi Kaye on a breakthrough in the Michael Jackson custody case and growing questions about the Jackson's fortune. First and foremost, just how much of a fortune is it?
And later, Dr. Sanjay Gupta with word of a major discovery in the war against a disease that kills more than a million people every year. Uncovering the origins of malaria and how it could save human lives.
Plus, four decades after their murders horrified the country, what's become of Charles Manson and his twisted followers? We'll get to all of that tonight.
We begin though, with new signs the recession is slowing. But these signs come with a potential price -- new taxes possibly for you. Will President Obama end up breaking a campaign promise not to raise taxes even a single dime on the middle class?
This weekend, a pair of the president's top economic advisers refuse to rule out new taxes to close the budget gap a shortfall that actually helps grow the economy during a recession but could hurt it later. "Your Money, Your Future," your taxes.
Chief business correspondent Ali Velshi has got it all covered for us as always. Ali -- good to have you here. So bottom line, is everybody going to start paying more in taxes?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well you know six, seven, eight months ago we couldn't get through a few nights without talking about all the terrible things happening in the economy.
So before we talk taxes, let's tell you about what's going on. We've had several weeks, some months, in fact, of good economic reports. Indications things are going better.
Let's take a look at one of them. We always know that the stock market starts to recover before the rest of the economy in a recession. But take a look at this.
Go back to Election Day and see where the DOW was, about 9,139. It was pretty choppy but pretty much down all the way until about March 9th which we now think -- at least if things don't go wrong again -- was the bottom of this market.
Now, look at what's happened since then. It's almost like a "V" shape. We are back up today higher than we were on Election Day. That is number one. Now, take a look at the thing that got us into this recession in the first place, the housing market.
We have seen in June, that's the last month for which we have numbers, an increase -- a little one -- but an increase in the price of homes. We've seen a lot of homes being sold and that's interesting because what's happening is people are buying a lot of homes that are distressed or in foreclosure.
Let's take a look at this; the increase in home prices in June in major metropolitan areas was only half of one percent. But boy, Erica, we'll take a gain as opposed to a loss.
Let's take a look at existing homes, that's basically used homes -- 85 percent, 90 percent of the homes that are all sold are existing homes. The price from May to June went up 3.6 percent. It's still low compared to last June a year ago. But over the course of one month we've seen an increase.
Take a look at new home sales. This is interesting. Because we had sort of stopped buying and stopped building new homes; up 11 percent from May to June. Again, down compared to last June but up in one month.
So a lot of stuff going on giving people a sense Erica, that this economy might be on the mend.
HILL: Ok, so that might be on the mend -- how did we get to this mending point? Is it the government intervention that worked? Because it wouldn't be just the stimulus, of course, there were programs put into place before President Obama took office so can his administration really take credit?
VELSHI: You know, I've talked to a lot of economists about this and there are some mixed views. There are some people who say that if the economy continues to grow in a robust fashion, this administration can take credit for it.
But right now the growth that we've seen in this second quarter, that's the second three months of this year -- the things that we're seeing now probably have a lot to do with what happened before the election.
Probably what happened in -- last October where we had TARP and we had all of that intervention by the federal government. Boy, the government threw so much money at this economy and back then we were saying, look, you'll see a reaction. You're starting to see that reaction.
This probably has less to do with the Obama administration and more to do with more than $1 trillion that was thrown at this problem by the previous administration -- Erica.
HILL: That $1 trillion though, has little something to do with every single American out there. So getting back to the issue at hand, even if things...
HILL: ...are getting better, how is the country going to pay for all of the money that's been thrown at this problem? Is it inevitable that taxes are going to increase and not just for those making more than $250,000?
VELSHI: Yes and that was a long way for me to get back to the point that you asked in the first place. But that's exactly right. What's happened here is that we have seen -- let me just give you an example of what we've spent in the first half of this year.
The government took in a little less than $1 trillion, $986 billion. Ok, that's revenues; that's taxes and things like that. Let's take a look at what they spent, $1.94 trillion. So the government spent almost twice what it took in, leaving a gap of $954 billion, almost $1 trillion. That's the deficit.
When you take all of the deficit and you put them together you have the national debt; and it is a whopping national debt.
You're going to talk to somebody after this a lot smarter than me about this, but it's not obvious how exactly we end up paying for this national debt without increasing taxes on more than just high earners -- Erica.
HILL: All right, Ali Velshi, always appreciate you putting into perspective for us.
"Digging Deeper" now with political contributor and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile; also Susan Molinari, a former GOP Congresswoman and currently a lobbyist and senior principle at the law firm Bracewell and Giuliani (ph).
Good to have the both of you with us tonight.
SUSAN MOLINARI, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
HILL: Based on what we've just heard from Ali, it sounds like raising taxes on at least some Americans could be all but inevitable. In addition to -- as most economists are saying -- being not only the quickest but perhaps the most effective way to reduce the deficit, get the economy back on track.
Susan, has the president in some ways boxed himself into a corner with his campaign promise that 95 percent of Americans would not see their taxes raised?
MOLINARI: Well, I think he has. I mean, clearly his two political spokespeople out there this weekend said what President Obama doesn't want to say yet which is that they think that they're not going to take middle class tax cuts off the table.
At the same time I guess, I agree with the president. I think you know taxing the American people is the wrong way to stimulate the economy. And what he needs to do as he goes through his budget is to find ways to reduce spending and cut the deficit from a governmental perspective.
HILL: Donna, can you do that. Can you find those areas and not cut the taxes so in fact the president doesn't have to go back on this promise?
BRAZILE: Well, you know at a time when revenues are declining and real Americans are hurting out there and they need more government services in terms of unemployment benefits, food stamps -- this is a very tough time to be raising taxes on Americans who are really concerned about their jobs and their economic health.
So I think the president is absolutely correct to rule it out, to not put new revenues on the table in the form of raising taxes on the middle class but look for cuts in spending. He's promised to reduce the deficit. And I think it's an opportunity for us to make some real savings by enacting real health care reform as well.
HILL: But can they find those cuts? We'll continue the conversation next.
As always you can also join the live chat now under way at AC360.com.
Also tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta with news out of Africa that could one day wipe malaria off the planet.
And late new developments in the Jackson story. A judge rules on custody as the fight continues over his estate.
HILL: "Digging Deeper" about "Your Money and Your Future;" changes in the health care system, the benefits of spending money now to stimulate the economy and who bears that cost further down the road.
Back with us now: political contributor and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile; also, Susan Molinari, former GOP Congresswoman and currently a political lobbyist and senior principle at the law firm Bracewell and Giuliani.
When we talk about health care, which Donna you mentioned before the break, one of the things that American families may really need right now, the Congressional Budget Office had said that this health care reform will add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years.
So we look at these two very big promises, Donna, of health care reform and then also not raising taxes. It seems tough to reconcile the two. How do you get them both and keep them both on the table? BRAZILE: Well first of all, we have to find real savings and modify the existing health care system we have in this country. And also we must make sure that in reforming our health care system that we don't put undue burden on small businesses and others.
And that's why the Democrats -- I think and some Republicans who are clearly working to ensure that we have a real strong bill are focusing clearly on the cost.
So I think the strategy right now is to make sure that we can find existing savings and to try to keep down the -- in terms of taxes, raising taxes on wealthy Americans to one percent to two percent.
HILL: As we've seen in the last six months the economy actually is improving. And there was a lot of talk at the beginning of this administration that when it came to midterm elections this was really going to be something that the GOP could hang their hats on. And say look, the economy didn't improve. It's not doing that well.
But the way it looks right now, Susan, is that in fact if the trend continues, the economy is doing well. So without that to sort of hang their hats on for midterm elections...
HILL: ...what are Republicans going to go after to try to regain their majority?
MOLINARI: You will -- first of all, let me say I think all Republicans would say, yes, we'd like to be wrong on this that the economy is going to be better. The economic forecast in terms of unemployment however, looks like the numbers are going to be dropping again.
So that's bad news for the White House and for America. Then, at the end of this week, but you know what? Unfortunately, there's still going to be a lot of other issues there as we continue to take over car companies and "Cash for Clunkers" and other projects there that the American people are a little bit skeptical on, in terms of big government making more and more inroads in their life.
But you know what? I think we're all willing to go down a few percentage points if President Obama and the Congress can get this economy going again.
HILL: Donna will you respond?
BRAZILE: The stimulus package is working. It's helping state governments make ends meet so they don't have to fire critical workers like teachers and firemen and police officials. And we also know that with the new construction money, we saw in a report today, that finally the construction industry is making a comeback.
So this is a net plus for the American people to ensure that the money that we're investing as taxpayers is being used to help rebuild this economy. We're now on the slow road to recovery. Until the jobs come back it is a very slow road.
MOLINARI: As long as we learn to drop the deficit and watch out for inflation along at the same time, I agree about it.
BRAZILE: Well, you know Susan, as you well know, much of that deficit is because we borrowed money for tax cuts that we didn't need and one of the problems is the President has not...
MOLINARI: Let me ask you. I was thinking it has to do with the stimulus bills and spending bills that could have been pared down a lot more.
BRAZILE: Well, $1.3 trillion is what President Obama inherited. So, three percent of the deficit for this current fiscal year is on the books because of the stimulus package; that's going to help people have a lifeline to make it through this recession.
MOLINARI: Well, that still remains to be seen and the deficit that we all have to pay for including our kids, so that is something that troubles the American people.
HILL: How much of -- though, when you're looking at the improvements that have been made, which we're both -- I think you were both saying, look, there are some improvements absolutely. The economy has been improving.
MOLINARI: If stock markets go straight, yes.
HILL: So how much credit then -- because there is so much talk about what the President inherited in terms of issues economically -- how much credit can this administration take and how much should it take for the recovery that we've seen thus far? Susan I'll start with you and then Donna I want you to follow.
MOLINARI: Well you know what, look, the political reality is administrations wear the economy bad or good. Whether they have all that much to do with it, you know, sometimes obviously private business has an awful lot to do with it, too.
But you know what? The economy needs to get moving again. I think some of the stimulus bill is starting to get in there and start to work. The point is I think a lot of people are starting to look at it and say there also was a lot more money in that stimulus bill that could have been better spent on infrastructure on jobs or just given back to the taxpayer.
HILL: So wait Susan -- you think he can take a little bit of credit but not too much...
MOLINARI: Yes, that's exactly right, he can take some credit no doubt about it but not too much because there still going to be some bills are going to due before the next midterm election. HILL: Donna, how much credit can and should the President take it at this point?
BRAZILE: Look, it's too early for anyone to take a victory lap because too many Americans are still hurting. And it's too early to pop champagne because too many Americans are still relying on government programs to make ends meet.
So I think the important thing is to make sure this money is targeted, that it goes -- it is spent wisely to help these communities in need and help the American people rebuild their lives.
HILL: Ladies, I appreciate having you both with us tonight, Donna Brazile and Susan Molinari, thank you.
MOLINARI: Thank you.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
HILL: Well, it is your turn to weigh in as well. Tell us how you think the new President is doing as the second 100 days of the Obama administration winds down. Cast your vote at CNN.com/reportcard. Give you're grades, you'll see the results coming up Thursday night 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here only on CNN.
Just ahead though tonight, there is breaking news: Former President Clinton heading to North Korea. Two lives may depend on his diplomacy tonight.
Also, new evidence that chimps are the source of one of humanity's deadliest and toughest diseases to treat. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with the latest.
HILL: Breaking news tonight: CNN has learned former President Bill Clinton is now on his way to North Korea. A reliable source telling us he is headed there in hopes of securing the release of journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.
You may recall, they were tried, convicted and sentenced to a dozen years hard labor for quote, "Grave crimes against North Korea." Mr. Clinton is reportedly on his way but has not yet arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
Euna and Laura have been held there since the 17th of March. We'll keep you updated as we learn anything more tonight.
Meantime, we are following several other stories tonight. Gary Tuchman, here tonight with the "360 Bulletin."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Erica.
The navy is awaiting tests from DNA tests on the remains of the first American officer shot down in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher disappeared over west central Iraq during a combat mission on the first night of the war. Yesterday, the Defense Department said it had found Speicher's remains and identified them with help from dental records. A tip from an Iraqi citizen last month helped solve the mystery.
Iran still not officially confirming it is holding three missing American hikers. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Swiss diplomats in Tehran are pressing Iranian officials for information. All three are former students at the University of California Berkeley and were hiking last week through parts of Iraq's Kurdistan region. They apparently crossed an unmarked border near the area of Ahmed Awaa (ph). That Friday afternoon they contacted a friend to say they were surrounded by Iranian soldiers.
A new strain of the virus that causes AIDS has been identified and for the first time traced to gorillas instead of chimpanzees. Researchers detected the new strain of HIV in a 62-year-old African woman from Cameroon who now lives in Paris.
And a terrifying moment for those onboard a Continental flight en route to Houston from Rio de Janeiro. Severe turbulence injured more than two dozen passengers, four of them seriously. Many passengers said they did not hear any warning. The aircraft was forced to divert to Miami.
I know there's a lot of frightened flyers out there who get scared about stories like this.
TUCHMAN: But Erica, flying is very safe. This is very rare, but wear those seat belts.
HILL: This from a man who flies about 18 times a week. All right, I'll take your word Gary Tuchman. But I still don't want to encounter those turbulence.
TUCHMAN: That's right.
HILL: Gary stay.
Just ahead on 360, Michael Jackson's children and a fresh wild card from his former dermatologist Dr. Arnie Klein. We'll have the latest onto today's custody ruling for you. That is what it means for Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe, plus that strange request from the dermatologist.
Just what did he ask the judge for? That's coming up.
And a bit later, 40 years later, the anniversary of the Manson murders. We'll take a look at the crime and the killers when 360 continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HILL: Tonight, a major decision involving Michael Jackson's children and a final one. A judge today making it official: granting Katherine Jackson permanent custody of her three grandchildren. It was the singer's wish that Michael Jr., Paris and Blanket live with his mother.
But what about Debbie Rowe? Well, the hearing also addressed her rights and looked at who should control Jackson's estate. But it wasn't all that straight forward, there was a bizarre moment involving one of Jackson's doctors that still has many people talking and wondering tonight.
Randi Kaye joining us live from Los Angeles with all of the latest developments. Randi, I'm still wondering about that one, actually.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we all are, Erica.
Katherine Jackson was awarded full custody today. As you said, Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe will have visitation. But before all that was made official major drama in the courtroom; a strange request on behalf of Jackson's long time dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein.
His lawyer told the judge Dr. Klein wanted to be involved with the children's medical care and education and be a part of their lives. This came out of nowhere and was all so bizarre because of all the talk out there that Dr. Klein may actually be the biological father of these kids.
He told CNN quote, "To the best of his knowledge he is not their father but he did admit he donated sperm once and he just doesn't know." Now, we we're talking of course about the two oldest children.
This is all very bizarre. The judge told his lawyer Dr. Klein would not be a part to the custody hearing.
His lawyer released a statement late tonight saying, Dr. Klein is not opposed to Katherine Jackson being the guardian adding quote, "Dr. Klein has always had a special relationship with Paris, Katherine and Prince Michael, loves and cares deeply for these children and is looking out for their best interest.
He apparently promised Michael Jackson he would do so, according to the statement.
HILL: Interesting though, a kind of the last person a lot of people would expect to come forward. But not the first twist or turn we have seen in this.
The real business of the day though was of course, this custody issue and the hearing on the estate as well. Custody resolved, how about the estate?
KAYE: Not exactly. The estate battle continues. More hearings have been scheduled. But what's really behind this is Mrs. Jackson wants a seat at the table and some more control over her husband's (SIC) estate. But it's unclear really what the estate is even worth. When he died Michael Jackson was about to go on tour. He had hoped that final tour would jump start his career and juice his bank account.
KAYE (voice-over): He was $400 million in debt by some estimates so why the fight over his estate?
MARK ROESLER, CEO, CMG WORLDWIDE: Michael Jackson will certainly be worth more dead than he was alive.
KAYE: Business agent Mark Roesler handles the estates of other celebrities who have past like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. He predicts Jackson will be the biggest grossing personality of all time. Good news for his mother Katherine and his three children who together were left 80 percent of his estate.
(on camera): So what is the estate really worth? Katherine Jackson's attorney has said it's worth $2 billion. But a source close to the estate dealings called that ridiculous. And called her attorney terribly misinformed.
That source told me the estate is more likely worth about $100 million right now with the potential to be worth a whole lot more.
(voice-over): Already we've learned deals are in the works that could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars including a movie featuring hours of Jackson's final rehearsal footage. Our source says the estate will get 90 percent of the profits.
Also Jackson's memoir "Moonwalk" will be re-released in October. That deal is worth about $60 million.
ROESLER: So you're talking about the copyrights, you're talking about the trademarks, you're talking about the -- what you call the right of publicity that's associated with his name and likeness.
KAYE: One of the men in charge is John Branca who also helped turn around Elvis Presley's estate. Two years ago "Forbes" magazine put Elvis at the top of its list of top earning dead celebrities.
If all goes as planned Jackson may surpass him. Since his death he's outsold every artist in albums and downloads. In fact, he is the highest selling artist after death since Nielsen started tracking this stuff in 1991.
The numbers don't lie. From January 1st of this year until the week he died Jackson sold 297,000 albums. Compare that to 3.73 million five weeks later. And in 2009 prior to the week he died fans downloaded just 1.3 million of his songs. Five weeks later it had jumped to 8.5 million.
Also, he had the top ten albums on the Billboard Chart for two weeks, the first time any artist alive or dead has done that. This senior editor from Forbes says the time is now for Jackson's estate to cash in.
MATTHEW MILLER, FORBES MAGAZINE: Right now Michael Jackson has got his best shot ever because everyone is looking at it through rosy tinted glasses. And the further we get away from his death the more you'll see those sunglasses taken off and so, the value of his assets will actually go down.
KAYE: No doubt, Jackson's family and his creditors hope that doesn't happen any time soon.
KAYE: Now the most significant piece of business to come from today's estate hearing was probably the fact the will was sent on to probate which will review Jackson's wishes and interpret his instructions.
This means I'm told, the judge accepted the will as valid and Katherine Jackson apparently did, too. It's significant because her lawyer made a really big deal last week about the will not being notarized. But in California a will doesn't have to be notarized. So this was a very good thing for the executors named by Michael Jackson in the will to handle his estate -- Erica.
HILL: All right Randi thanks.
And those of course are the issues over the Jackson estate. But there is plenty to get to tonight.
So joining us now -- here in New York, CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin; in Los Angeles CNN legal analyst, Lisa Bloom. There is never a dull moment in these discussions.
Jeff, we were talking about this a little bit in the break. I have to go back to the kids for just a minute before we continue with the estate because this custody battle -- Dr. Arnie Klein showing up today essentially saying he wants a say in how the kids are raised. Did you see this one coming?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the good news is that there is not a custody battle. It said, Katherine Jackson has custody and there wasn't a fight with Debbie Rowe.
But Arnie Klein comes in and he doesn't ask for custody. He doesn't ask for visitation. He just sort of asks to be invited to Thanksgiving every year.
HILL: But how often does something like that happen in a custody -- in a custody case? I mean it seems...
TOOBIN: But the thing is what he was asking for the law does not have any provision for. And he has no legal status because he is -- he is rumored to be their parent but he's never been proven to be the father.
The -- the deceased's dermatologist gets no rights to the children. So I... HILL: Are you sure?
TOOBIN: I don't think there is anything going to come of this.
HILL: Lisa, what if he does turn out? What if it happens -- he says and it turns out that he is the biological father. Would he -- at that point have any rights and be invited to perhaps more than Thanksgiving as Jeff mentioned?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Remember that Michael Jackson married Debbie Rowe when she was six months pregnant with their first child. And I thought that he did that so that he could take advantage of California's conclusive presumption that a child born to a married husband and wife who are cohabiting is the child of the marriage, period, conclusively.
Except -- and of course, there are always an exception under the law even when we use words like conclusively -- except if a punitive father comes in within two years and requests a blood test.
Now, those two years have passed for a long, long time. There are some other cases in California though, where the father can come in and request a blood test under unusual circumstances even after those two years.
So nothing as far as I'm concerned is off the table in this case. Anything could happen just as we saw today in court.
TOOBIN: But the weird thing is at one level, you could see, ok, I want to have a DNA test I want to prove -- Arnie Klein saying -- I'm the father. He didn't do that.
BLOOM: I know but he's being so cagey.
HILL: You think, Lisa?
TOOBIN: He just said, "I want to make sure they go to a good college." It was just not a -- it's strange.
HILL: It was a little odd.
HILL: And we can probably -- we can go back and forth on this one forever. But we do have a couple of other things to get to.
Really quickly, Debbie Rowe -- does this seem like a good setup? Any surprises she got these visitation rights?
TOOBIN: No. I think it is a nice resolution that there's no conflict. She has gotten a great deal of money from the Jackson family in the past. I frankly thought she would hold them up for some more money but apparently she didn't.
But again, it is good for all concerned that there is no lingering conflict. HILL: Right.
Lisa, let's now turn to the estate. We didn't get a final judgment on this today. Why not? And do you think it is something will actually -- the judge will be able to come to quickly moving forward?
BLOOM: The judge did give a temporary win in my opinion to the executors of the estate because they're staying in as executors and the will is accepted and the will names them as executors and doesn't name Katherine. Michael Jackson had the opportunity to name his mom. He did not name her.
So they are going to continue for the next 60 days administering the estate. And my prediction is that Katherine Jackson is not going to be brought in as an executor of the estate unless she can show some serious misconduct or fraud by these guys which so far has not even been suggested. All we have right now is a run of the mill discovery dispute which I think is going nowhere.
She is going to get the documents. She's going to agree to some confidentiality. And I think that is going to be the end of it.
HILL: And doesn't she get to see a certain amount of information or the comings and goings, I guess, of this Michael Jackson family trust because she does receive a certain portion from it?
BLOOM: Absolutely. She is a 40 percent beneficiary and a guardian of the kids who have another 40 percent. She is looking at -- really, we are talking about 80 percent of the will. She absolutely has a right to get documents, to get information, to make sure that the executors are acting in her best interest and in the children's best interest.
But that doesn't mean that she gets everything she wants. She doesn't get control over the complicated legal and financial dealings. That's why these two guys were brought in. We have a record industry executive and a lawyer to oversee that stuff which only really makes sense.
TOOBIN: That is right. But it is also worth noting that they don't have to resolve everything right away. This is a very complicated estate which exploiting it will take years. Is it worth $400 million? Is it worth $2 billion? We don't know how much it is worth because it depends how intelligently the assets are used.
HILL: But the value of the estate -- I mean, that's not going to change what the judge decides or could it?
TOOBIN: No. It is not because it is an ongoing business and the beneficiaries are 80 percent the Jackson family.
HILL: Yes. So we need this wrapped up with a bow tonight, Jeffrey Toobin.
TOOBIN: Well, it is the legal system. Nothing gets wrapped up quickly.
HILL: Who are we kidding? This is the gift that keeps on giving. We're going to keep talking Michael Jackson forever.
BLOOM: Yes. It keeps legal analysts in business.
HILL: There you go.
Jeffrey Toobin, Lisa Bloom. Thank you both.
BLOOM: Thank you.
To weigh in on this story or anything else we're covering, join the live chat happening now at ac360.com. I have been completely remiss. I swear I'm going to log on right now.
Still ahead: a discovery that may have solved an ancient mystery. This will all get you talking.
Virus hunter extraordinaire Nathan Wolfe: turning his tracking skills now on the parasite that causes malaria. The disease itself kills more than a million people across the globe every year. Just wait until you see where the trail led Nathan Wolfe.
Plus, the grisly murders that stunned the nation 40 years ago: Charles Manson now 74 gave helter-skelter a new and terrifying meaning. Just ahead, his bloody legacy.
HILL: Tonight: a possible major break in a medical whodunit. A team of researchers says it has tracked down the origins of one of the deadliest killers on the planet -- malaria. One of the authors of this just-published study is Nathan Wolfe. You may remember him from our Planet in Peril investigation.
He is a well-known virus hunter. In this case he focused his skills on the parasite that causes malaria. And he'll join us in just a moment but first, 360 MD Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on this incredible finding.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep in the jungles of Africa, Nathan Wolfe is on the hunt. Wolfe is a pathogen hunter, looking to unlock the mystery of one of nature's greatest killers, the source of malaria.
He has been at it for more than a decade, working with people who hunt these forests to take blood samples of the animals they kill, animals that could provide the answer. Through those blood samples and work with research animals, Wolfe says he and his team have solved the riddle.
(on camera): There is a particular chimpanzee in here, Max. What has Max taught us about viruses? NATHAN WOLFE, PATHOGEN HUNTER: What we have found in Max and a couple of other chimpanzees here and in the Ivory Coast is actually malaria parasites. This would give us really the answer to an old riddle, namely what is the origin of malaria? Where did they come from?
The answer is actually...
WOLFE: We discovered that it came from chimpanzees. Yes. Just like Max.
GUPTA: So malaria comes from chimpanzees. We can say that for sure now?
WOLFE: That's right.
GUPTA: You are a virus hunter, a pathogen hunter. How hard was it to hunt malaria?
WOLFE: We have been chasing this for some time. It was pretty exciting for us to nail it.
GUPTA (voice-over): They nailed it by first identifying strains of malaria found in chimpanzees and comparing them to strains killing humans globally.
It turns out genetically they are nearly identical except the chimpanzee strain is older. All of that suggests that chimpanzees pass malaria to humans.
(on camera): There is this interface between animals and humans so important because they can actually exchange viruses, they can exchange pathogens, things that you may have heard of like HIV, Ebola, Marburg, even parasites like malaria.
The question is exactly how does that swapping take place? And I think more importantly for researchers, what can they do about it?
(voice-over): Knowing the origins of a disease, even the close relatives to it could be a huge step toward stopping it. More than 30 years ago scientists used a close relative of human smallpox found in cows to create a vaccine for humans. Whether the same will happen with Wolfe's discovery is still unknown. He and his colleagues believe it is a major breakthrough and only the beginning.
WOLFE: We know very little about the diversity of microorganisms even within our own bodies let alone within other animals. And really, that is one of the things we are just beginning to do, it's to sort of begin to describe this iceberg. We know a lot of it is under water. I think it is part of the excitement scientifically for those of us who are out there trying to discover these things.
HILL: And one of the reasons the study is getting so much attention are the high stakes here. Malaria kills more than a million people every year, many of them are children.
We want to dig deeper now with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Nathan Wolfe; both joining us tonight. Nathan, first of all congratulations on this discovery for you.
WOLFE: Thank you.
HILL: I know this is so important, especially in the scientific community. I think a lot of folks at home, myself included, though, I listen to all this, and I think, "Wait a minute. Malaria, where does the mosquito fit in here?"
WOLFE: Sure. Well, mosquitoes are what permit malaria to move from animal to animal. And in this case, at some point, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, it was probably a single infected mosquito that had fed on a chimpanzee and later fed on a human that permitted this parasite to cross over into humans.
HILL: It's amazing you can trace it back from that one single mosquito, that far.
Sanjay, give me an idea, medically. Why is this discovery so important?
GUPTA: Well, you know, you mentioned, Erica, that a million or two die from malaria every year. About 500 million or so get infected every year, as well.
I've had malaria. I think Nathan has told me that he's had malaria a few times, as well. So, you know, a lot of people get this. And it can be pretty awful in terms of symptoms.
I think sort of more to the point, and I'm curious what Nathan thinks about this, this idea that if you isolate a pathogen like this in chimpanzees, could you possibly be one step closer to creating a vaccine?
We talk a lot about mosquito nets. We talk a lot about preventing malaria in the first place. A vaccine would obviously be a huge, huge development in the world of malaria.
Now, whether that could happen or not, who knows? But this -- this definitely puts us a step closer.
HILL: Nathan, can -- I mean, you mentioned that, that it's kind of far off. This is an initial discovery. But are you hopeful that we could see something like that in our lifetimes, or is that too soon to tell?
WOLFE: Well, I certainly am hopeful. I mean, I think what Sanjay says is very true. If you sort of were to compare HIV, let's say HIV is something like Katrina as a hurricane. If you think about malaria, this is a hurricane that's been hitting us constantly for the last thousand years. So this is an incredibly important parasite for the history of humanity. And notably, there's been an incredible struggle to come up with an adequate vaccine that prevents against malaria. Perhaps part of the reason is that there are very few models, very few close living relatives to human malaria to compare and to understand and perhaps to generate vaccines.
HILL: Like we just heard about the smallpox that Sanjay mentioned, using cow smallpox to create human -- the human vaccine.
You mentioned, though, in that piece, when you and Sanjay were in Cameroon, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. What other diseases are there out there that you're really focused on right now?
WOLFE: Well, we tend to be interested in two kinds of diseases. No. 1, things that are closely related to diseases that have had a huge impact on humans; so the viruses that are retroviruses like HIV, malaria parasites, perhaps unknown ones.
There was a very interesting malaria parasite which started to infect individuals in Southeast Asia that jumped over from a macaque, for example.
The second group is things that are completely unknown. And part of the reality of this is our ability to understand these agents has really just begun. We now have the sort of tools which will allow us to do that.
But what we need to do is more field studies. We need to be out there, watching when people get sick to see if these are actually novel things that are causing people to be ill.
HILL: And I understand, too, and I remember this from "Planet in Peril" from both you and Sanjay talking about it. Sanjay, you talked so much about these unknown viruses and, actually, their ability to jump so quickly just because of things like air travel nowadays. How much concern is there over, specifically, the unknown viruses?
GUPTA: Well, we've just been talking about this a lot recently with H1N1, the swine flu virus. This is something that we were down in Mexico, looking at this.
And I think Nathan was fascinated, because he's ten years searching for the origins of malaria. And with H1N1 they think it may have come from this -- this pig farm, essentially, in northern Mexico.
What's sort of interesting is that exactly what you said. I mean, it starts at this really isolated location, finds its way into Mexico City, finds its way in hospitals, subsequently tourists are there. And all of a sudden, you have something that would have been in a very, very small part of the world all over the world. And finding the origins of that, finding how it behaves can provide a lot of valuable lessons.
HILL: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Nathan Wolfe, great to have both of you with us and congratulations again.
WOLFE: Thank you very much.
HILL: We look forward to hearing more of what you find.
You can log on to AC360.com to watch an excerpt from "Planet in Peril," including Anderson, Sanjay and Nathan Wolfe, all in action, investigating how these deadly viruses spread. And while you're there, you can also find ways to help stop malaria.
Just ahead on "360," the face of evil: Charles Manson on the anniversary of the murders. We'll take a look at the killings, the cult, and the crime that gripped a nation.
And a little later on, talk about an oops. A bad blowup -- the unexpected outcome of a botched building implosion; the video and the story are ahead.
HILL: In tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report, Charles Manson and the killing spree that cut deep into America's psyche. Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the so-called Manson family murders.
But with his followers now asking for freedom and speculation of even more victims, the story continues to make news today. And we're going to bring it to you over this full week.
First, though, Ted Rowlands takes us back to the crime that shocked the nation.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The psychopath who carved a swastika into his forehead is 74 now. Time has changed his face, but peer into the eyes. They are as dark and penetrating as they were when the world first met Charles Manson.
It has been 40 years since the messianic madmen and his disciples slaughtered seven people.
(on camera): And it began right here on Cielo Drive, a quiet leafy cul de sac overlooking Beverly Hills. You see this security gate. Behind it there's a mansion, but in the 1960s a much smaller house was at this address. It was home to two rising Hollywood stars: director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate.
(voice-over): At 26, Tate was young, beautiful. She was also 8 1/2 months pregnant when the killers arrived on August 9, 1969.
On Manson's orders, four members of his cult, or the family, as they were called, went on a murder spree at the home. With knives and guns they took the lives of Tate, a young caretaker, and three family friends.
Before leaving, they left a message on the front door, scrawled in blood; the word "pig." The scene was horrific, but there would be more to come. (on camera): The next day Manson himself accompanied the group here to the home of supermarket executive Leno La Bianca and his wife. Except for this gate and some remodeling, the house today looks very much the same as it did when the Manson family entered the property and tortured the couple before killing them.
(voice-over): Again, more cryptic words in blood, like "rise" and "helter-skelter," a reference to the Beatles song of the same name.
BLOOM: I think the Manson murders were the iconic crimes of the 1960s. They incorporated everything from the sexual fascination of Manson with his many women followers, to the Beatles music of the day, the outlandish courtroom circus that the trial became.
ROWLANDS: Manson was a 5'2" megalomaniac, a man who spent more than half of his life behind bars before moving to California where he portrayed himself as a hippie and a musician. He attracted the lonely, desperate, and troubled, mostly women, who traveled with him across the state, until they moved into an abandoned building on an old movie set outside of Los Angeles.
What was behind the murders?
BLOOM: Manson said that he did it to try to start a race war. His theory was that blacks would win in a race war against the whites. They would be unable to govern, and then he would emerge and take over.
ROWLANDS: In 1971, Manson and four of his followers were given the death penalty, but the sentences were commuted to life when California abolished capital punishment.
Over the years, Manson has turned his parole hearings into a circus filled with wild antics and ramblings. He will likely die in prison, a fate other members of the so-called family want to avoid.
Susan Atkins, who has terminal cancer, was denied parole last year but is up again next month. Leslie Van Houten is also longing for freedom. This is what she said in 2004.
LESLIE VAN HOUTEN, CONVICTED OF MURDER: I was raised to be a decent human being. I turned into a monster. And I have spent these years going back to a decent human being, and I just don't know what else to say.
ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.
Tomorrow "The Manson Killers: the women who followed his orders to murder." 40 years later they say they've changed, as you just heard. You heard them asking for forgiveness. And they also want their freedom.
So should they get it? We'll let you decide tomorrow.
And for a full timeline of the Manson murders and to see crime-scene photos and more background, log onto our Web site at AC360.com.
Just ahead, 70 percent of children in America are in need of an important vitamin. What is it, and what can parents do? Lucky for you we'll have the answer next.
Plus, demolition disaster. Find out where this implosion -- keep watching -- went terribly wrong.
HILL: Just ahead, tonight's "Shot;" a building demolition didn't exactly go as planned.
First, though, Gary Tuchman joining us again with a "360 Bulletin."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica.
Bank of America has agreed to pay a $33 million fine to settle government charges they misled investors about bonuses for Merrill Lynch employees. The SEC said as the bank bought the brokerage company it made plans to pay year-end bonuses but did not tell shareholders.
President Obama is praising the expansion of the G.I. Bill, calling it the, quote, "moral obligation." Under the plan, the maximum benefit is a free education at various state colleges or universities. That's for those who have served at least three years in the military since the September 11th attacks.
A new nationwide study suggests about 70 percent of U.S. children have low levels of Vitamin D. Thus, they're more at risk for bone and heart disease. Scientists say a poor diet is to blame, as well as not enough sunshine.
And they have a contest for everything, even screaming. In Thailand, more than 1,500 people tried to break the Guinness world record for the loudest scream this past week. One contestant chimed in with a scream as loud as an ambulance siren...
TUCHMAN: ... but that was a few decibels short of the world record.
HILL: Short of the world record?
TUCHMAN: Erica, I think this is a competition I'd be very good at.
TUCHMAN: You know, when I go in the library, people that know me run away. It's really something. I can get loud... HILL: Gary Tuchman, the things we learn about you.
HILL: That is an event that I really don't ever want to cover, without earphones.
TUCHMAN: You want me to try it right now?
HILL: You could, but...
TUCHMAN: Better not.
HILL: They probably wouldn't be happy.
TUCHMAN: I don't want to scare the viewers.
HILL: We'll try it in the break.
We'll move on, though, to the "Beat 360" winners. We'll see how we do with this competition. It's our daily challenge, of course, to viewers, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the picture we post on our blog every day.
Tonight's photo: a little taste of the fun and the atmosphere at a Music and Arts festival in Jersey City, New Jersey, this weekend. In case you weren't in this area, it rained like crazy on Sunday, hence the mud.
Our staff winner tonight is Elise. Her caption: "A little taste of Levi Johnston's new reality show."
That was very clever. It was my staff favorite, I have to admit.
And our viewer winner tonight is Ken, who didn't tell us where he's from, very cagey. His caption: "And with one final strategic move, the U.S. Congress begins their summer break."
TUCHMAN: Democrats or Republicans?
HILL: That is an excellent question. I think it's a nonpartisan mud- fest.
TUCHMAN: Let's say one of each. That would be a good idea.
HILL: Ken, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
But we are not done with all of you.
Up next, a planned building implosion gone terribly wrong. We'll tell you where it happened. It's our "Shot of the Day," and I think you can probably see why. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: Gary, for tonight's "Shot" a demolition disaster. Check it out. A factory in Turkey was supposed to implode. We know how these things work. And it's obvious that one didn't work.
Instead of collapsing, as you can see, it tumbled over -- I can't believe it's still in one piece -- flipping over before coming to rest next to a residential building. Incredibly, no one was injured.
TUCHMAN: Can you imagine being in the balcony of that residential building and saying, "Honey, look what's going on next door."
HILL: You're thinking, "I'm going to watch the implosion," you know, like they do on Vegas all the time on the strip? "It'll be great. We've got popcorn. We're getting a building on our balcony. Fantastic."
TUCHMAN: The luckiest people in Turkey are the people in that building, because as you said, nobody was hurt.
HILL: No one was hurt.
You can see all the most recent shots at AC360.com.
That does it for this edition of AC360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.