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A Video Out of Afghanistan Showing the Execution of a Woman Exposed; the Baby Golden Eagle, it was Severely Burned; Roger Federer Won his seventh Wimbledon Crown
Aired July 8, 2012 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredrick Whitfield. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm about to show you something that is so disturbing, a video out of Afghanistan showing the execution of a woman. And a warning this may be difficult to watch. Not everyone should see this.
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WHITFIELD: The woman is seen crashed on the ground surrounded by a crowd of men. And then you hear the men talking. And then after shots ring out you can hear men will cheer. Human rights activists and western officials are now expressing horror today after what some are calling an honor killing.
I want to bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
Barbara, what are you learning about this video of the woman who was executed and the circumstances?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, very disturbing to watch but many officials believed it underscores the real brutality of the Taliban. This woman apparently was killed, executed by the Taliban because they believe that two Taliban men were somehow having some dispute over her, this, all according to the governor of the province north of Kabul, Karwan (ph) province where she was killed.
This is an area that conservative though maybe, usually is fairly calm in recent months. The amateur video is very difficult to watch, but again, under scoring the brutality of the Taliban.
The local governor says the men involved apparently accused her of adultery and had her killed. They say they had court proceedings and in one hour had her, executed. The two men involved were killed by a third Taliban commander but Afghan officials say they are now looking for other people that were involved in this.
Fred, this has led to a very strong and swift statement from the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen who said quote "let's be clear, this was injustice. This was murder and atrocity of unspeakable cruelty." He went on to say, the Taliban's continued brutality toward innocent civilians particularly women must be condemned in the strongest terms. There has been too much progress, he said, made by too many brave Afghans especially on the part of women for this kind of criminal behavior to be tolerated.
And of course, Fred, this underscores the deeper concerns and growing issue of what will happen to Afghan women once U.S. and NATO troops leave and the Taliban perhaps re-assert control in some areas -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, very disturbing. Barbara Starr, thanks so much.
We are going to talk more about this. So, how common is this? Christine Fair, a former political officer to the United Nations mission to Afghanistan and Kabul and currently a professor of South Asian affairs at Georgetown joining us from Washington.
So, that this was videotape is one thing. But then, you have wander, you know, are this anomaly or are this common plays in Afghanistan?
CHRISTINE FAIR, FORMER UNITED NATIONS POLITICAL OFFICER, AFGHAN MISSION: So, I mean, I guess I would like to expand the context of this a little bit with absolute agreement with Barbara Starr that the Taliban are drastic savages. But I think there is a tendency to look at this and say this is something that only the Taliban do. In point in fact, this is something that happens routinely in Afghanistan. Human rights organizations will frequently fight the number of say nine and ten women throughout the course of their life will experience some sort of brutality.
It is not simply the preview of the Taliban. The northern alliance has been equally awful in the way they kept young boys as sex slaves and they continue to do so. What we are really looking at in Afghanistan is there a whole series of social practices that really center round notions of honor. And people are much more reliant upon local institutions than they are federal structures.
So, we'll see not only by the way in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan if a woman is accused of having some sort of sexual infidelity they will go to (INAUDIBLE) where they will go to some sort of tribal council. And it will be really dejor that they would force her to be gang raped perhaps by the family members of the party that was aggrieved or possibly even killed.
So, it is really important to not see this exclusively in terms of the Taliban but this is a set of practices that actually has existed and continue to exist throughout Afghanistan. And by the way, you know, we can ask the question what will happen when we leave but let's remember that this is actually happening while we are still there with a relatively large presence of troops in the country.
WHITFIELD: So, that in you view, this is not a Taliban driven occurrence but it is a cultural one that is wide spread throughout the country. Then one does wonder how often something like this is happening. The only difference is here someone videotaped it or, you know, shadowed with their camera and we were able to see it.
But, if it is that wide spread culturally throughout, you know, the country and there are few perhaps that would have a problem with this taking place. FAIR: Well, I -- quite frankly that is my position on this. You may recall a number of months ago there was a woman who was ordered by a tribal to be gang raped. The reason why she was gang raped and by the way, this gang rape went on for days was because a very distant cousin had engaged in some other impropriety with another girl. And so, the way in which dishonor transgression was made right was by the family of the aggrieved family sending their own family members to gang rape this woman.
Now, that family did something that was absolutely brave. They actually gave the Afghan government a chance. They said if the Afghan government can hold the individuals to account we won't kill our daughter. But if the Afghan government won't restore our honor by punishing the men that gang raped our daughters we are going to kill her.
And couple of things I would like to point out about this. This had nothing to do with the Taliban and also one of the individuals saying that injustice wasn't going to prevail on behalf of the daughter, they would kill her, it was in fact her own mother.
So, we have to think about this outside of the purview of the Taliban, but really looking at a number of practices that go on all the time in Afghanistan. Now, unfortunately some of our allies will call them strong men when they work with us, they are terrorists when they don't work with us. They are equally likely to engage in these atrocities, but they are not as likely to end up on international television because they are not the Taliban.
WHITFIELD: Christine --
FAIR: -- or called the Taliban, actually.
WHITFIELD: Christine Fair, thanks so much. It is so disturbing. It's hard to watch and it's, you know, even hard to listen to the context in which all of this is being played out.
But, thanks so much for elaborating on it. Appreciate it.
Also from Afghanistan an improvised explosive device exploding in the eastern part of the country killing six international troops. Few other details are being released and we don't know the nationality of those killed. The attack come the same day diplomats from around the world convened in Japan to discuss Afghanistan's future.
And now to Syria, international peace convoy, Kofi Annan arrived in the capital of Damascus today for a meeting with President Assad. Broken buildings, disserted streets, all being witness to the continued violence there. Activists say at least 43 people have been killed today and U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton says time is running out in her view for President Assad.
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HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The future to me should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime. The days are numbered.
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WHITFIELD: Meanwhile, the Syrian military says it is conducting live exercises and launching missiles to stay prepared for an attack from sea.
Parts of the U.S. hit by a ten day heat wave are facing another threat today, severe storms. The cold front moving in to the mid Atlantic state could produce large hail, damaging winds, maybe even lightning. It is the same kind of front that hammered parts of Missouri this week. One person died and another person was injured in the town of Cuba. The winds were so powerful they knocked over cars and caused some buildings to collapse.
So, let's talk about Georgia now where the case of a missing man has gone international. Aubrey Price was seen as a hero when he road in to save a small bank in South Georgia that was about to go under after more than 60 years in business. He was given the job of investing the bank's money.
But the police say instead of doing that he stole at least $17 million. And now he has vanished after leaving a rambling e-mail that hinted at suicide.
Nick Valencia has been looking to this story very sorted, very strange and something that would be, you know, in a novel.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is missing and so is $17 million. He is being accused of the federal government of defrauding over 100 investors, most of them local, of about $17 million.
Now, as you mentioned in the open there, he was thought to be this white knight coming in to sort to save this failing bank only to be the one it sort appears to bring it down.
Now, we got a hold of the criminal complaint from the U.S. attorney's office. And what they alleges is that, he was entrusted to invest the bank's money only to set up a dummy company in New York that are used to cover up what the feds are saying, is what he invest on, $17 million, Fred.
WHITFIELD: OK. So, the FBI is saying what?
VALENCIA: Well, the FBI is saying certainly, we are receiving any information that arrives locally but any updates or comments would have to come from the U.S. attorney's office in New York because of that dummy company, of course. That is why the complaint was filed in New York.
WHITFIELD: OK. Now, what -- those who know him, are they saying anything or they are thinking that he is accused of this and if he is guilty that he isn't hiding or think something more sinister happened?
VALENCIA: Well, that's the feds are alleging something more sinister did happen. About two weeks ago, he went missing. He wrote this rambling letter to acquaintances and business associates saying that he planned to kill himself off the coast of Florida. He was last spotted in mid June off the coast of Florida. You are looking at pictures now of where his offices were. Now they are gone. Of course, the bank he had been trusted to direct bailed on Friday. It has been absorbed by the FDIC. But at issue here is he is missing. And no one knows where he is at. He has property in Venezuela and Guatemala. And the federal authorities, the FBI, thinks that he might be somewhere in South America. Take a good look at that picture. If you spot him down there, you know who to call.
WHITFIELD: So clearly, they would be watching, you know, the property there and we are looking to see if there are transactions that might be tied to him? Have they seen nothing?
VALENCIA: That's a good point. In June there is a travel itinerary that pins him going to Venezuela as early as June 2nd. But after he found in Key West of the coast of Florida, he has vanished. And he is missing now and again so is a lot of money. People want answers.
WHITFIELD: Incredible mystery. All right.
Thank you so much, Nick Valencia, for bringing that to us. Appreciate it.
All right. London, let's talk tennis. Did you watch little tennis? Do you have time for that, Nick?
VALENCIA: I did.
WHITFIELD: Then, you saw this. Roger Federer winning his seventh Wimbledon crown, kind of a bitter-sweet. You know, you would hope that the crowd would be cheering for him, but instead, there were lot of disappointed looks and a lot of tears because the guy they really wanted to win, U.K.s Andy Murray, well, he was beat.
Anyway, Federer clinched his seventh Wimbledon, his 17th grand slam event and will take back the number one ranking spot. Murray was hoping to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936, but not this time.
All right, a new information about the mysterious disease that is killing Cambodian children. Nearly every child hospitalized with the syndrome has died.
Plus, you could lose internet tomorrow along with thousands of other people. You will be devastated. You know you will. We will show you how to protect your computer from this nasty virus.
WHITFIELD: All right now, to some international stories that we are following.
In China, crews rescued four miners who had been trapped underground. They have been stuck in a flooded hole-mine for more than three days. Pakistan now, thousands of Islamists are traveling Lahar to Islamabad. They are planning a march tomorrow to protest the re-opening of NATO supply route to Afghanistan. Pakistan closed those routes last November after NATO fighter gets attack of Pakistani check point.
And in Egypt the country's newly elected president is recalling the dissolved parliament. But by doing so, he is overriding a military edict. Military leaders say they will hold an emergency meeting to discuss Mohamed Morsi's decision and quote, "its re-precaution."
And we have more information on the mysterious illness killing children in Cambodia. More than 60 have died and now health officials say, they made an important discovery.
CNN's Sara Sidner reports from one of the areas hardest hit by this battling illness.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Feverish and struggling to breathe this 5-year-old boy is in bad shape. Doctors are trying to diagnose him, well aware he has symptoms on a mysterious illness that is killing children in Cambodia. Nearly every child who has shown up in the Cambodian hospital with the mystery syndrome has died.
So far, pediatrician Ta Vantha has treated two children with the syndrome, both got worse by the hour, both died within a couple of days. In one case the child's lungs deteriorated within hours.
Are you as a doctor worried because you don't know what it is exactly?
DOCTOR TA VANTHA, PEDIATRICIAN: Yes. For me we are informed just to inform the parents when the child you know has symptoms like high fever or respiratory infection. They also could bring the child again to hospital.
SIDNER: During the rainy season here at the south western Cambodian hospital, about 50 children a day are admitted. They normally have serious but treatable conditions like encephalitis and Dengue fever.
Mosquito borne illnesses explode during this time of year due to many holes of stagnant water or mosquito breed. But the mortality rates of those diseases are far lower. Dengue fever which has infected a total of ten thousand people in Cambodia so far this year killed 45.
In comparison at the main children's hospital in the capital, the mystery syndrome has killed 60 of 62 children who were brought there, an extremely high mortality rate.
How concerned is WHO about of this outside of Cambodia?
PIETER VAN MAARAN, CAMBODIAN WHO REPRESENTATIVE: Our concern is really to get the diagnosis sorted out as quickly as possible because then, it will be a much easier for us to assess how dangerous or not dangerous it is for neighboring countries. SIDNER: Now, four months after the first case was reported, health officials may be a little bit closer to figuring out exactly what it is.
Researchers have found a virus called EV71 appearing in samples in more than a dozen of the cases they have tested. EV71was discovered in the 1960s in the U.S. where it was blamed for an outbreak of neurological disease in California. It is associated with hand, foot and mouth disease. There is no known treatment for it.
The world Health Organization warrant the discovery of EV71, does not mean the problem of the undiagnosed cases has been solved. A lot more analysis in testing is needed. In the meantime, health officials in Cambodia are trying to make sure parents with sick children know if their child is having any of symptoms bring the child directly to the hospital.
This family tried treating their child at home first. A week later, his grandma brought him to the hospital in dire strain. To her relief, doctors finally diagnosed him with Dengue fever, not the unknown illness that has already taken dozens of children's lives in just four months.
Sara Sidner, CNN. Takeo Province, Cambodia.
WHITFIELD: And strawberries cream and a little piece of history at Wimbledon today.
WHITFIELD: Andy Murray was a hometown boy, the first Brit to make it to the Wimbledon final since before World War II but then ran into Roger Federer.
"Sports Illustrated" Pablo Torre is with me for some smart sport Pablo, you know. I know the crowd was rooting for, you know, Andy Murray but did the crowd really believe that he had a chance, you know, up against Federer because Federer just seems unstoppable?
PABLO TORRE, WRITER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Yes. And you know the crowd had waited 76 years for the United Kingdom to produce a Wimbledon champion. They can wait a 77.
But Roger Federer, we have been waiting for him to tumble off the summit of tennis for so long now. He is age 30 which is ancient in sports years obviously, but he is so good. And we should appreciate that we are watching the best to ever do it play the game right now. And he was consistent as he always is. He was calm, which was a great contrast to Andy Murray getting so flustered. And he was a craftier Roger Federer, an older wiser Roger Federer, even, and now certainly enough to win his seventh Wimbledon championship and record 17 major all time.
WHITFIELD: And 30 seems to be the number of the year for Wimbledon because, you know what - yesterday, Serena Williams.
TORRE: Serena, age 30.
WHITFIELD: in his 30s.
TORRE: Yes. And there is an argument to say we just had two Wimbledon champions, the two best in their respective gender divisions. Serena, you know, was away from the game for ten months, didn't know if she would play again and to come back and be this dominant and show what should matter peak could be like even now at age 30 which is ancient, obviously. It is so impressive.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And even she said, you know, afterwards, you know what, there is more in me. So, this is really just kind a new beginning for her and that is amazing. I know we are talking about Federer and Andy Murray. But you know, the fact that the 30, but Andy Murray was very gracious. He was very tearful. But even Federer was incredibly complimentary and said you know what, I have a feeling that he is still, you know, going to get a title.
TORRE: Yes. Andy Murray has the misfortune of being the fourth guy when you have the trio of Federer and Nadal and Djokovic, three guys who look to have a strangle hold on the sport.
Andy Murray though, you got to give him credit. He will be playing some of the points in his mind until he dies, let's be clear about that, but he has a lot to be proud of it. They will be doing it again at Wimbledon for the Olympics in three short weeks.
WHITFIELD: Yes. That's true. And maybe when he does win, we will find out what the whole, you know, looking at the sky. And you know, it's almost like he's praying. He is talking to somebody. He just will not reveal who that is and what that is about.
OK. Let's talk basketball now. And Linsanity, we haven't said his name in a long time. But just to refresh your memory take a look at this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the Mavericks players. The energy he provided.
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WHITFIELD: OK. So now he is sort of a free agent. I say sort of because there is a real contingency that goes with that with the New York Knicks even though already Houston is expressing an interest in him. You tell.
TORRE: Yes. So, Jeremy is a restricted free agent, meaning the Knicks can pay whatever any other rival team wants to offer. So, the Houston Rockets which actually cut Jeremy before he joined the Knicks last season offered him $29 million over four years which is a great jump in salary when you are snipping on your brother's couch in New York for awhile. But the Knicks look to be matching anything that any other team has to offer. Jeremy offers the unique combination of not only being a really good all-star level guard level point guard, God willing, he created greatest performance on those 25 starts that he had last year. But he also could be the most popular athlete globally. He has the continent of Asia in his corner and the NBA was wondering at the beginning of last season what to do when Yao Ming is gone. Jeremy Lin is the answer when it comes to marketing and selling jerseys, even number one jersey last year already.
WHITFIELD: Hey, but is he still linjured?
TORRE: He is working his way back. He is almost as full strength. He was going to crack with the USA select team but, he should be good to go by the season starts?
WHITFIELD: All right, very good. He has a bright future ahead of him. I know folks are going to go Linsane one more time.
WHITFIELD: Pablo Torre, thanks so much. Good to see you. Appreciate it.
All right. A rushing flood waters strike in the middle of the night killing at least 150 people and displacing thousands from their homes. We'll have more on rescue efforts in Russia.
WHITFIELD: We just confirmed this information. Academy award winning actor Ernest Borgnine has died. Borgnine was a well-known Hollywood character actor. He won an Oscar 1955 for his title role in the movie "Marty." He was 95 years old when he passed away.
Joining me on the phone is CNN's Larry King.
Larry, I know you have spoken with him so many times. Ernest Borgnine, really starred in so many things. He had an incredibly diverse career. "McHale's Navy, Dirty Dozen, Escape from New York, Wild Bunch, All Dogs Go to Heaven."
What is his legacy? How will people remember him?
LARRY KING, CNN HOST, LARRY KING LIVE (via phone): He was a classic character actor when you look up the word character actor you get his picture. His diversity, as you just explained and so many roles, he can do comedy. He can be a villain. He can be the leading man as he was in "Marty" which was an incredible role for him. That was the only movie I can remember in which he was the star and deserved the academy award playing this man in Brooklyn living with his mother who was in his 40s and finally goes to a date and gets married. It was a wonderful, touching film.
He also played the very evil sergeant who beat up Frank Sinatra, and from here to eternity. He was the villain in that piece, Sinatra won an Academy award best supporter actor and Frank told me he credited Borgnine a lot with his performance because he had a work off him so well. Ernie was - he did a long terrific life. He was great in "the Poseidon adventure" which is a movie that has been clone in television about 8,000 times. A very, very figure known, in every American home.
WHITFIELD: Wow. He received those act just as you just underscored with, you know, by being a supporting actor and then in that one occasion, being the leading man in "Marty."
But the fact that he was a character actor, I wonder how much of an inspiration he was to so many actors who would say, you know what, he exemplified I don't have to be the leading guy or leading gal. I really can have a career by of longevity by being a great character actor.
KING: Character actors have more longevity than stars because they come into the picture more and there are a lot of roles open for him. Also Earnest Borgnine was always overweight. He was not exactly - he was not a leading man type face. But there were always role, you know, there are ordinary people that in needed him in many movies. Everybody is not Brad Pitt.
But Borgnine was - his diversity was incredible and you could call on him for lots of things. So, I would say that he left his mark in American film and television and radio. He did a lot of radio acting, as well. Borgnine will be remembered for a long time and is a classic Hollywood figure with a long and deserved life.
WHITFIELD: Larry King, thanks so much for joining us.
KING: You're welcome, Fredricka. Anytime.
WHITFIELD: Appreciate that.
Ernest Borgnine dead at the age of 95.
All right, 11 states now are still in the grips of an oppressive heat wave a week and a half after it began. Dozens of deaths are being blamed on the high temperatures and the heat has buckled roads. The damage road in Wisconsin sent at least one car flying into the air right there. And high temperatures are also being blamed for a metro train derailment in Prince Georgia's County, Maryland. Officials say the rail buckled. No one was hurt, thankfully.
Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider in the CNN weather center. We are talking serious heat to buckle pavements like that and a railway. And it is certainly very dangerous heat for the most vulnerable, the elderly and the young.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. And what we are also talking about, Fredricka, is prolonged heat. But that does have been going on for a day or even a week. We had an excessive heat situation across the U.S. for the past 30 days. And take a look at the numbers to back it up. Over 4,500 daily records including yesterday Washington, D.C. had a record high. So, big cities impacted small towns over the last month or so. And these aren't just daily record highs. These are all time record highs, meaning, it never gotten to the numbers you see for Atlanta, Denver and Nashville that happened in the past couple weeks. And we still have many cities that are talking about consecutive days and even weeks in the triple digits. So, it is a prolonged event. And that's one of the reason heat is so dangerous. It is a silent killer because it can kind creep up on you and then linger.
So, here is where we stand right now. We have temperatures that are looking a lot better today than they were yesterday like in Chicago and Kansas City in the 80s. So, we are out of the 90s.
But look what is happening in Atlanta, areas along the coastal Carolinas and Georgia. We are still looking at temperatures in the upper 90s. So, it is still pretty hot out there.
Now, the heat advisory extends across the Midwest all the way to the coastal region of the mid-Atlantic and the south and will likely continue tomorrow. But, I'm so happy to tell you that relief is coming, slowly, very slowly but surely due to this cold front. So the front is dropping down day by day Monday into Tuesday. We are watching for temperatures to come out of the 90s and get to the 80s. It will be much, much cooler, you know.
But, as the front drops down, Fredricka, we are also monitoring the threat of severe weather. It is triggering strong thunderstorms. We had a couple of thunderstorm warnings. Some dangerous weather popping up to Virginia and back up to West Virginia and especially just into southern Ohio and Kentucky because the storms are firing up with the heat of the day.
These thunderstorm watch boxes are in effect into the evening hours. I will be monitoring it for you here. But remember, we had some unfortunate deaths due to lightning this weekend from a severe weather. So, even if there is not a tornado, severe thunderstorms are deadly and dangerous so be careful out there.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And that is funny that we are saying a cool off means the 80s. Isn't that something?
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Bonnie.
All right. You may want to take a few minutes this evening. Check out your computer that could save you a lot of heartache come malware Monday.
WHITFIELD: An update from Afghanistan. U.S. officials now say the six troops killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan are all American. We don't have the circumstances IED attack but know it happened in the eastern portion of the country.
The attack comes just at moments after diplomats in Japan had been working on what they would hope to be a positive future for Afghanistan. All right. You have just a little more time now before malware Monday hits and perhaps knocks you off the internet. But don't freak out just yet. There are some things that you can do to find out if your computer will be infected.
CNN's Tom Foreman explains what to do.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what you need to watch out for this weekend, the FBI went after this virus called the DNS changer through a thing called operation ghost click. Why did they call it that?
Because, this virus targeted about four million computers worldwide, half million in the U.S. And what it did was if you clicked on a Web site, something you wanted to go to, it simply took you to another site. Sometimes it looked a lot like it. For example you went to iTunes, you want to buy some music or a movie or something, and all of the sudden, you found yourself on a site that looks like it where they might steal directly from. They are also stealing ad space.
The bottom line is they ripped off about $14 million this way. These are some eastern European criminals according to the FBI. They were picked up but the virus is still out there. So, that's the real danger. And the big problem comes on Monday when if this is in your computer there is a very good chance you will find that you simply cannot get on to the internet at all.
So what can you do about it? Well, some of the biggest names out there in the Internet have already been trying to help. Facebook has been sending notices to people who sign on whose computers act like they might be infected. You might have seen one of these, same thing from Apple, same thing from Google, letting people know that maybe, there is a problem.
What you do, if you think you have a problem is simple in many ways. Just go to www.dns-ok.us. This was set up with the FBI. And the bottom line is when you go to that Web site it will automatically show you either a green indicator here or a red indicator.
Green means you're clean, generally. It is not a guarantee but that says your computer doesn't seem to have a problem. If it comes up red though, you need to act quickly. In any event check out all of your spyware malware indications, your protections on your computer. Get all the updates this weekend. Make sure your security system is working as well as possible to help assess this thing out and get it out of your computer and take a little bit of time, go to that Web site and just make sure because you don't want to find that it is Monday and the ghost got you.
WHITFIELD: Nobody wants that. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.
And Congressman Barney Frank takes a historic vow. We'll have details on that.
WHITFIELD: When Republicans said they would do everything in their power to repeal President Obama's new health care reform law, they weren't kidding. This week the GOP controlled House will likely pass a bill repealing the affordable care act, but it is expected to be dead upon arrival when it hits the senate which is controlled by Democrats. It will be the second time the house has voted on the bill.
Retiring Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank made history with an "I do." He married his long time partner yesterday. That's makes him the first member of Congress to be in a same sex marriage while still in office. The couple wrote their own vows pledging quote, " to love each other and be each other's best friend, in sickness and in health, in Congress or in retirement, whether the surf is up or the surf's flat, for richer or for poorer, under the Democrats or the Republicans."
Congrats to them.
All right, right now, thousands of people are sweltering in heat without air conditioning. The power has been knocked out rather by storms that struck more than a week ago. In Charleston, West Virginia the National Guard is working with FEMA to get emergency supplies to people. About 75,000 customers still don't have electricity.
The situation got CNN contributor, Bob Greene, reflecting on some things that we take for granted.
BOB GREENE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The startling thing is not that the power went off and stayed off. The startling thing is what we so casually take for granted. We flip a switch on the wall and the lights blaze to life all over the house. We turn the knob by the faucet and safe clean water comes rushing in to the sink or the bathtub. We pick up a phone and almost instantly we are talking to someone half way across the country or half way around the world.
So, when the power hopefully is restored to all who lost it, it might be a good time to think about just how fragile our assumptions really are. Throughout much of the history of this country the things we take on faith were barely imaginable, universal electricity, running water and air conditioning. It was the stuff of science fiction. The generations that came before ours fixed that and gave us what we have today.
But, for so long that this continent we live on, was a tangled disconnected tabular of forests and rivers and the desserts and the Great Plains, all of which disappeared from view with the darkness of each night.
So when something like the power outage happens it's a reminder to us that we are always just one disaster away from an involuntary trip back into that primitive America. And in fact, the reaction, the uneasiness to the power outage was almost primal in nature like a premonition of some nightmare scenario, the unthinkable. We flip the switch and the lights don't go on. We turn the knob and nothing comes out of the tap. We pick up the phone and hear only silence. We go to the computer and are greeted by blankness. And then in the nightmare version darkness falls.
WHITFIELD: All right, Bob Greene. Thanks so much.
You can read bob's column and other opinions on the issues that shape your world on CNN.com/opinion.
All right. It has been a month since we introduced you to five military vets most amputees out to climb North America's highest peak. Dan McKinley in Alaska. So, we figured it was time to check in and see how it went.
And if you have to go out today, just a reminder, we can go with you. You can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone. You could also watch CNN live from your desktop or laptop. Just go to CNN.com/TV.
WHITFIELD: A delicate operation 1,700 feet in the air. Today, crews loosened the bolts on an old analogue antenna on top of Chicago's tower formally known as the sears tower. The helicopter used a hook to remove the 4,000 pound antenna off the tower, and then lowered it down gently to the ground. Looks so small when it is atop the tower, then it looks so huge.
All right, England now. The Olympic torch was on board a raft, that one right there, as part of its journey around the country when the unthinkable happened. First you see a flame, now, you see no flame. Water sprayed on to the eternal flame snuffing it out there. But it was relit quickly by a back up flame right there once they hit land. The Olympic Games opening ceremony, not delayed at all as a result, it'll still take place July 27th.
Southern California is home to one of America's greatest battle ships. The USS Iowa opened to the public Saturday as a floating museum. The vessel was built in 1940 and served the country for more than 50 years. Earlier in the week, sailor who served on the Iowa gathering at the Fort of Los Angeles to welcomed the vessel to its new home.
And it's been a month since we introduced you to five military vets, most amputees, out to find North America's highest peak, Mount McKinley, in Alaska, also known as Denali. Elizabeth, made it nearly 16,000 feet up the mountain, by the way, the mountain just over 20,000 feet tall, before bad weather and poor conditions forced them to turn around.
Their three-week journey ended prematurely but what an adventure it was. I spoke with Sergeant Kirk Bauer who led the Denali challenge.
WHITFIELD: First of all, Sergeant Bauer, congratulations for making this incredible journey. You almost feel great.
SERGEANT KIRK M. BAUER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DISABLED SPORTS USA: Thank you, Fredricka. And thank you, CNN, for covering this, what we think is a good news story.
WHITFIELD: It really. Now, I remember before you all began this ascent, you talked about the challenges that came with, purely the weather, the equipment, given that many of the prosthesis, you know, get particularly cold in, you know, weather like this and the terrain, all of that would bring tremendous challenges. Were those big obstacles along the way?
BAUER: I think that all of those, the cold, the extreme weather, our mechanical equipment, you know, all played a part in and certainly presented all of us with challenges. We were climbing very, very steep mountains that, you know, and foot ankle units were bending it at angles I don't think they were intended to. But they did hold up sometimes we are stuck in the snow and we would literally pull out of our legs and after, you know, pulling our legs back on while we were carrying our packs and are pulling sleds and it always extremely challenging for us. Certainly for me, and I know for the other wounded warriors.
But what finally, you know, stopped us, was the extreme weather. You know, 50, 60 mile-an-hour winds were where you can't really negotiate, you know, a ridge that's only about ten feet wide and it drops off for thousands of feet on either side. The snow, one time we were trying to get up to 16,000 and you know, the park service says, you are going to be negotiating thigh to waist deep snow if you get up there. And for amputees, that would just be too much.
So, in the final analysis after, you know, trying for eight days at 14,000 feet base camp, we couldn't break through.
WHITFIELD: That's incredible. Well, you know, the odds are against any climber. All climbers who try it take on mount McKinley and it is incredible, a challenge. But along the way, what were your observations? I mean, as difficult as it was, and all the you described, it had to be really beautiful as well.
BAUER: It was one of the most exhilarating, one of the most exciting experience -- you know, I got hit in Vietnam in '69, so I have been doing disabled sports for over 40 years. But it was truly the most exciting and exhilarating and challenging venture I've ever been on.
When you're up there, the vast snow fields, the huge mountains, I mean, there are mountains 17,000, 14,000 feet. Some in the lower 48 would be the tallest mountains in the lower 48. And spectacular views of these ice fields and snow fields. And the valley below and in Alaska, it was absolutely spectacular. You know, just everywhere we looked.
WHITFIELD: Wow, the images are breathtaking. So, how does everyone feel?
BAUER: Well, you know, we were all very, very disappointed. You know, I cried when we had to turn back on the final attempt. We were on the glacier for 21 days. But all of us feel that the venture was a success because, you know, in the big picture, what we were trying to do is inspire and motivate others with disabilities in particularly the young wounded warriors coming back from Afghanistan.
WHITFIELD: You're an incredible inspiration. We are so proud of you and proud of all of the climbers. This is an incredible challenge. Not everyone can do this. You all did 16,000 feet. It is beyond impressive. Sergeant Kirk Bauer. Thanks so much.
BAUER: Thank you, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: They are incredible. For more on the Denali challenge, or for more information the Disabled Sports USA, visit their Web site, www.dsusa.org.
All right, it is one of the more amazing survivor stories of the Utah wildfire. Phoenix, the baby golden eagle, it was severely burned when fire hit his nest, he is recovering. But it is way too early to see whether or not he will ever be able to fly again.
Todd (INAUDIBLE) from our affiliate KSTU has the full story.
DALYN ERICKSON, WILDFIRE REHABILITATION CENTER OF NORTHERN UTAH: For him to survive something like that is outstanding. I mean, there's just no words for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice-over): The story of the seagull starts on June 1st when he was photographed by Kent Keller.
ERICKSON: He is a bird bender. Sew goes up and bands these birds in the nest. And that gives us longevity records, and that type of stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And in this nest on this ledge high above the community of eagle mountain --
ERICKSON: He was the single baby in the nest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: On June 21st, human-caused fire began burning. Thousands of acres consumed over days, including the nest site with the eaglet too young to fly. Kent returned several days later.
ERICKSON: Basically, he went back it retrieve a band and wanted the data on the band.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The went back thinking he would find a dead band. ERICKSON: Right. Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: But this symbol of freedom was alive, on the fourth of July.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Now named phoenix, this eagle truly did rise from the ashes.
ERICKSON: The plane had engulfed his body just because there was on his head, there was on back and on its wings and on its legs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the shafts up here. They're still growing. But they are pretty much done for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Handler says Phoenix has a long way to go, but his future looks promising.
ERICKSON: We are hoping to release him. That's our goal, to get him back out in the wild.
WHITFIELD: Wow. That is one lucky bird. Wildlife experts say his rehab will take at least a year. And we will of course keep an eye on Phoenix's recovery, and wishing him the best.
That is going to do it for me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Much more on the NEWSROOM coming just minutes away, you probably hear his voice.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Bye, Fred.
WHITFIELD: That would be Don Lemon, he is up next. Have a great week.
LEMON: You too, Fred.