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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  May 20, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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good evening, everyone. breaking news. new details in the dominique strauss-kahn sex case. the former imf director and possible candidate for president of france out of jail tonight, we just found out he's at his new home until trial. this high rise building here. out on bail, a million dollars cash, $5 million bond. that's the building. looking at live pictures of the location in lower manhattan, dsk as he's often called inside under house arrest, under armed guards he's paying for. we did not see him enter the building. the security company responsible for watching him spiriting him inside. the media, in large part, were camped out at another location,
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believing that was going to be the place he would be staying. they camped out into the evening. but it later turned out that dsk was elsewhere. he wanted to stay here, uptown, at his wife's apartment on the upper east side, but the apartment building said no, not wanting a 24-7 media circus, as you can imagine. dsk is facing sex crime charges, seven counts in connection with the alleged attempted rape of a hotel maid. tonight a law enforcement source tells us that dsk allegedly phoned the front desk and invited the receptionist up for a drink shortly after he checked into the hotel. she declined. in a moment, we'll talk with mark geragos and new york's top law enforcement officer eliot spitzer. but first, all we know so far from the beginning. here's susan candiotti. >> reporter: it was just last friday when dominique strauss-kahn checked into the luxury hotel in midtown manhattan. according to a law enforcement source, the head of the
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international monetary fund was looking for company. within minutes of checking into suite 2806, he called the front desk and invited the female receptionist to join him for a drink. she declined. fast forward to the next day, at around noon. a sort tells cnn a male service attendant thought the suite was vacant and entered the room. just minutes later, a 32-year-old african maid noticed the door was ajar and entered the room to clean. the attendant then left, following hotel policy, the maid left the door open. inside, 62-year-old strauss-khan allegedly was naked in the bedroom and grabbed at the maid, chasing her throughout the suite. as she tried to escape, he shut the door and forced himself on her, sexually assaulting her. >> he tried to forcibly rape her. when he was unsuccessful, he forced her to perform oral sex on him. >> reporter: just 25 minutes later at 12:28 p.m.,
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strauss-khan checked out of the sofitel hotel. prosecutors contend he was rushing to get to the airport. the defense says he was rushing to have lunch with his daughter before heading to the airport for a previously booked flight. they presented the flight booking records as evidence in court. >> he was scheduled to leave jfk at a flight for paris on that day, and i also have the documentation from air france which shows that the ticket was bought on may the 11th. >> reporter: soon after the alleged attack, the maid was reporting the incident to hotel staff. around 1:30 p.m., the police were called. no one knew of strauss-khan's whereabouts until he called from the airport, inquiring about his lost cell phone. a move the defense says proves he's innocent and was not fleeing the country. but according to a law enforcement source, when police boarded the air france flight to take him into custody, something
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stood out. the suspect never asked why he was being arrested. on monday morning, a disheveled strauss-khan appeared in court, where he was charged with an array of offenses that could put him behind bars up to 25 years. denied bail, strauss-khan was sent to rikers. meantime, investigators were interviewing witnesses and combing through the crime scene looking for evidence. according to abc news, they cut up a small piece of the floor where the alleged victim is said to have spat after being forced to perform oral sex on strauss-khan. wednesday, under intense pressure, strauss-khan resigned as chief of the imf. in a brief letter to the board, he proclaimed his innocence saying "to all i want to say that i deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me." in court on thursday, supported by his wife and daughter, a clean cut strauss-khan was granted some freedom.
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>> i have decided i will grant a bail under the following conditions. >> reporter: in addition to posting $1 million in cash, and a $5 million bond, strauss-khan was ordered to surrender all travel documents, submit to home detention with an ankle bracelet, and 24-hour armed security while staying at this am building on manhattan's upper east side. today, just hours before strauss-khan's release, the apartment building revoked on the deal. causing the defense to scramble. but this afternoon, he left rikers to somewhere that will likely be his home until his next court appearance june 6th. susan candiotti, cnn, new york. >> eliot spitzer is new york's former governor, attorney general, and host of "in the arena" here on cnn. mark geragos is a noted defense attorney. i spoke to both men earlier. mark, we've learned new details now that the maid followed protocol.
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when she went into the room, she left the door open, her cart in the door. there had been a room service attendant who witnessed her coming in. then apparently strauss-khan made a pass at a receptionist when he checked in, invited her up to the room. do any of these developments, certainly they don't speak well for strauss-khan or they're not in his favor. >> well, first of all, when these things come dripping out, you have to take them with a grain of salt. usually it's the prosecution team, and by that not necessarily the prosecutors but the police who are doing the leaking. and a lot of times that's done specifically to create bad facts that may not in fact be as bad as they sound. start to parse that a little bit. if there was a room attendant there, if the thing or the cart was blocking the door, then you have to say to yourself, how in the heck, what did this guy do, he threw the cart into the hallway, shut the door, tackled her, and i know this is a family
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show in a family hour, but he forced her to have oral sex and she wasn't able to stop herself from doing that? a lot of these things don't make a lot of sense to me. >> do they make sense to you? >> i'm with mark to only one extent. it's hard to understand the fact pattern until you get the entire picture. the one thing we do know is 23 members of the grand jury heard her testimony and the other evidence the prosecution set before them, presumably forensic evidence and videos, if there are videos, of the now defendant entering the hotel, in the hallway and that grand jury said we indict him. clearly whatever inconsistencies one might see were not sufficient for them to worry about the credibility of the witness. so this is a very powerful indictment. and we have to wait the see what the forensic evidence is. presumably the defense is going to be one of consent, and not one of an alibi. >> the prosecution is saying hardened detectives question this woman, sometimes under
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tough questioning and they believe her story is consistent and point to the fact that she immediately went to her supervisor at the hotel and reported this. >> well, look, hardened detectives, i've yet to meet a detective, once he was invested in the case, didn't think it was the greatest case in the world. they don't just stand up and say, ah-ha, i'm going to dismiss it. in terms of the grand jury, you can count on one hand the number of grand juries that have rejected indictments on a regular basis. it just doesn't happen. anything the prosecution puts up there, the grand jury is nothing more than a rubber stamp. this is not, and i tend to agree with mr. rothman the lawyer, when ben said this is a defensible case, on the face it looks defensible to me, and i would not be so sure, and i agree with eliot, until you see all of the facts and what we're getting, i don't for a second believe are all the facts, until we see that, we're speculating. it could be urban legend.
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a lot of this stuff is released by people who have an agenda. you just cannot put a lot of stock into it. >> let me disagree with a couple things. first, the detectives in this unit in particular are very hesitant to proceed with a case they do not believe they can really prove, especially a high profile defendant, especially one where they know the credibility of the complainant is going to be outcome determinative. they are going to grill her and see is this somebody who has brought 20 allegations -- >> i would agree, but don't you think there may have been just a little bit of -- we got to hurry up and do this because they thought he was leaving the country. and as i've said before, two words, roman polanski comes to everybody's mind, so they figure we have to do something here, because if we lose him, we'll never get him back. >> that is a fair presumption. on the other hand, i think that's why they waited to indict this case until they had some forensic evidence, that will either be consistent with
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consent or not. that's going to be the evidence that will be dispositive here. because otherwise you'll have a he said, she said. but forensic evidence, let's just say there's his skin under her fingernails, which would suggest a fight. >> if the defense is going to argue consensual sex, then forensic evidence doesn't matter much, does it? >> you took the next comment out of my head there. if the forensic evidence is going to show that they had sex, then it's going to be, is it consensual or not? and that also is not necessarily determinative. because these other kinds of surrounding facts, in terms of okay, she says she put a cart in the door. she says there was another attendant there. how much time elapsed between the time the other attendant was there and when she made the call? how much time elapsed between the time she made the call or somebody else made the call? there's going to be quite a few questions here, and i don't
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think that forensic evidence becomes so key, if it determines or the defense determines they're going to admit there was sex. >> much of what you're saying is correct in a theoretical way, but here is the alternative argument. if you have evidence of bruising, if you have his blood samples under her fingernails, suggesting she was scraping at him, pushing him back, if you have body fluids in places where it would not be if it were consensual, all sorts of things could be there, and we are speculating and all sorts of forensic evidence could be highly suggestive and therefore corroborate the story of a victim, who is otherwise credible. >> mark, i've heard you say you could raise doubts about the fact that she did talk to supervisors so quickly. >> sure. if you've got a situation where if this was consensual and she decides it's going to be a shakedown or setup, if there was
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a situation where she said i'm going to target this guy and believe it or not that happens, then the quick response and a story that sticks to a script, that becomes problematic for the prosecution. if she tells this story and it's almost script ready three or four times, that generally is not consistent with somebody who is in shock and has had a traumatic experience. >> were your surprised by the bail? >> no, i was not. bail is not supposed to be correlated to the severity of the crime but answer one question, will this defendant come back. the conditions of bail were not only the money and bond, but the 24-hour security and the fact he's wearing an ankle bracelet. he cannot go anywhere right now without being seen or recognized. his passport has been surrendered. he will be there at trial. so i think bail was almost inevitable. the only time you have remand until trial is in a heinous murder case with somebody with no connection to the community.
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>> mark geragos, thanks so much. eliot spitzer, thank you. >> thank you. let us know what you think on facebook or twitter @ anderson cooper. i'll try to be tweeting some tonight. up next, the murders in syria continue. dozens dead today. we just got a new video that's shocking even by the sickening standards of the syrian regime. >> we'll show you more of that video. people risking their own lives to try to save the life of somebody else who has been wounded. we'll talk to the brave woman on the run tonight, her life in danger. but still brave enough to speak out. later, a report that completely changed the way i use my cell phone. like most people, i've used it for years pressing it up against my ear when i talk. if you do that, then you need to hear what dr. sanjay gupta is reporting tonight. he's been working on this report about a year. it raises serious questions about existing research. you'll hear from other doctors about cell phone radiation.
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>> i think that we have an obligation to inform the public that we cannot say with any degree of certainty that cell phone use is safe. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. 8% every 10 years.age 40, twe can start losing muscle -- wow. wow. but you can help fight muscle loss with exercise and ensure muscle health. i've got revigor. what's revigor? it's the amino acid metabolite, hmb to help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time. [ female announcer ] ensure muscle health has revigor
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despite the most blatant acts of murder by the regime in syria, the protests continued today. human rights activists report at least 34 people were killed in syria today. protesters took to the streets across the country after weekly friday prayers and syrian security forces opened fire on them. night after night on this program, we've witnessed the bravery of syrians who have given their lives calling for change. it's easy to think all the pictures look the same. it's easy to turn away and go
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frustrated that nothing has changed. we think we owe it to those dying in the streets to bear witness to their struggle and to their deaths. we want to show you video of what happened to one man today, we want you to see the efforts of others brave enough to rescue him with gunshots whizzing around them. i want to warn you, the video is extremely graphic, but we're showing it to you because we think it's important for the world to witness the violence inflicted on innocent people and to witness the heroism in the face of oppression.
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>> cnn can't independently verify the specifics of the video and we don't know if the man died or not. despite the crackdown, protesters refused to back down. yesterday, president obama praised the syrian people for demanding a transition to democracy and issued a message to the syrian leader. >> president assad now has a choice. he can lead that transition, or get out of the way. the syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. they must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests. >> earlier, i spoke to a syrian
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human rights activist, a lawyer whose husband has been arrested by syrian security forces. she's on the run tonight, and remember, as you listen to her, she's risking her life just by talking to us. more violence across syria today. do you know how many people have been killed? >> today we have confirmed 34 names of people who got killed across the country. but what's happened in the last few hours is eyewitnesss say it's about 50 people got killed but we haven't any confirmation yet. >> is this because it's friday and after prayers, people are gathered and they start protesting and the security forces crack down, why so many deaths today? >> today the security used gunfire in all areas, which witnessed protests. usually they use in some areas they use shooting, in other areas they use beatings and
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arresting. today they used gunfire everywhere. that's why the people who got killed are from different cities. >> and we're seeing video where what looks like uniformed military personnel or police are just firing. at one point even fires right at the person taking the video. is there any order to it? is there any rationale for who they're shooting or are they just trying to shoot anyone they can get? >> it's just an order to end the protest in any way. according to how big the protest is. >> yesterday, president obama called on assad's regime to stop shooting demonstrators, to stop unjust arrests and allow peaceful protests but stopped short of saying assad lost all legitimacy and should step down. were you disappointed in what he said?
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>> i feel it has a good impact on the people. the people felt that the great country of the united states feels about them and calls for freedom and doesn't believe any of the lies or claims of the regime. >> i'm watching video of a protester who has been shot, on the back of a motorcycle and looks in very bad shape and is being driven away. what happens to someone when they've been shot? is there still fear about going to the hospitals? >> it's a problem all the time, because every time they take people who got shot or injured to the hospital, they got kidnapped by the security. today, a person got killed in the suburb of damascus. the security forces tried to kidnap him from the hospital.
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but the people surrounded the hospital and prevented the security to take him. so it happens all the time. >> razan, you're in hiding. stay safe, please. thank you. up next, "360" investigation. i really think you want to watch this, particularly if like me you press your cell phone against your ear if you talk or carry it next to your body in a pocket. studies say they're safe but we've uncovered serious questions. you'll hear from a leading brain expert who says people should be a lot more concerned. and we'll talk to dr. sanjay gupta. this report has completely changed how i use my cell phone. later, in the middle of the flooding, one family's island. they built their own levee. we're going to show you around. we share.
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keeping them honest tonight. new questions about cell phones and cancer, including this. if they're so safe, why do many manufacturers recommend holding them half inch away from your head while you talk? who does that? i certainly have never done that. if they're so safe, why does one top neurologist who deals with brain tumors daily have this to say? >> i don't think any mother, if they knew there was a 2 1/2 fold increase in their kid developing brain cancer when they were 40
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or 50, would allow their kids to use cell phones. >> they haven't even tested for kids with cell phones. notice, he said, if mothers knew. there are studies that show cell phone use is safe. getting back to if, what if the research is incomplete because many cancers take a long time to develop, and cell phones haven't been around that long. the national institutes of health released a study showing using a cell phone changes the chemistry inside your brain. what if it does more than that? we warn you, there are no answers yet. but as dr. sanjay gupta found out, there are serious people asking life and death questions. >> reporter: if you've ever put a cell phone to your ear, you should listen to what neurosurgeon dr. keith black has to say. >> there's no way to say cell phone use is safe. i think that the public has a right to know that there could be a potential risk. the public generally assumes if one is selling something on the market, that we have had assurances that that device is safe.
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>> reporter: to be clear, dr. black's message is at odds with 4ed headlines from the largest international study on cell phones. their conclusion, little or no evidence cell phones are associated with brain tumors. but if you look just one layer deeper into the appendix of that same study, it turns out participants in the study who use a cell phone for ten years or more, had double the rate of a type of tumor. and keep in mind, cell phone use in the united states has only been popular for around 15 years. back in 1996, there were 34 million cell phone users. today, nearly 300 million in use, according to industry figures. >> environmental factors take decades to see their effect, not a few years. >> reporter: if it may take decades to get a clearer answer, what can we say about cell phone safety now? scientists here in san jose, california are trying to answer that very question.
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>> one of the things we have to do first is literally put the brain inside the head. >> exactly. it's very light now. >> reporter: the fcc requires all cell phones emit below 1.6 watts per kilogram of radiation. in order to test for that, scientists here try and mimic the human brain, with salt, sugar, and water. let me show you how they do this test. this is a model. this is supposed to approximate the human skull, an adult male. this is my phone we've attached there, connected at the angle most people would speak with. and inside over here, this bubbly liquid inside is what represents liquid brain. what's going to happen is the phone is making a call. after a period of time, this device is going to come over here and start to measure radiation at all different points in the brain. after that, they're going to take all of those numbers, put it on a computer screen, and tell us where the hot spots are
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and just how high the levels got. my cell phone measured within fcc limits. but the whole process was surprisingly low tech. what about different size skulls or children? >> in children, their skull is thinner, so the microwave radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. and their cells are dividing at a much faster rate. so the impact of the microwave radiation can be much larger. >> reporter: but there have been no studies on children and cell phone safety. and here's something else that might surprise you. the cell manufacturers advise against putting the cell phone next to your head or on your body. take a look with the iphone 4, the safety instructions say when using the iphone near your body, keep it at least 15 millimeters or 5/8ths of an inch from your body.
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what if you're a blackberry user? they have safety guidelines. in this case they say keep it 25 millimeters from your body. meaning your head or your pocket. dr. keith black has been talking about this longer than many. but the voices joining him are becoming louder and more prominent. the city of san francisco pushed for radiation warning labels on cell phones. the head of a prominent cancer institute sent a memo to all employees urging them to reduce cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer. and the european environmental agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell phones could be as big a risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. the federal communication commission, the fcc, set the guidelines for how much radiation a cell phone can emit, and they say cell phones are safe. but how can they be so sure? keeping them honest, we decided to come here and find out for ourselves, but they declined an on camera interview. the type of radiation coming out of your cell phone is non-ionizing.
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it's not like an x-ray, but it's more like a how powered microwave oven. >> what microwave radiation does, in the most simplistic terms, is very similar to what happens to your food when you put your food in a microwave oven, it's essentially cooking the brain. >> reporter: based on their past statements, the fcc isn't convinced there's a real risk and maintain "they do not endorse the need for consumers to take any precautions to reduce exposure." >> sanjay, this piece is really fascinating and terrifying, i got to say. these cell phones haven't been around long enough to have an accurate sense of whether or not they're safe. >> that's the issue. there haven't been studies to show they're dangerous but there are not studies to show they're safe either. the problem is how much we're using them. even some of the earlier studies, regular cell phone use
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is defined as a couple hours per week for six months. who uses their cell phones like that? most people have it planted to their head several hours a day. and for many years to come. >> the whole idea in the fine print of the owner manual, it says you're supposed to hold it 5/8ths of an inch away from your head. who does that? i keep mine pressed, my ear gets warm i have it pressed against my head so much. >> i don't think most people read the fine print. i think what's more impressive about that is as much as you hear from the fcc saying no precautionary measures are necessary whatsoever, the manufacturers themselves, anderson, are saying look, 5/8ths of an inch is impractical, but away from your body in general, not even next to your bone marrow or reproductive organs. >> you're not even supposed to have it in your pocket? >> they say 5/8ths of an inch away from your body. so if it's in your pocket, it's up against your skin.
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so you're supposed to put it in these holsters which few people use. or in a separate bag and carry it with you. >> i look like enough of a geek as it is, i'm not sure i need a holster. i got to say, after seeing this report, i'm going to get one of those ear pieces and try to use that. >> i was going to ask you if you use one. >> do you? >> i use mine all the time when we travel overseas. i'm going to bring one to your office so you can have one, as well. it's one of these things, and i don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it is a pretty easy thing to do, to use the ear piece. again, manufacturers from the cell phone themselves recommend keeping it away from your ear and a wired ear piece is a good way to do that. i've been using it for years now. who knows what 20 years from now what we're going to know about this. >> right. >> but if the results come back this was a problem -- >> there's also at least from my thinking in the past when i thought about this, and i was
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talking about this in the office today, i assume everyone uses cell phones, they must be tested and safe and stuff. but clearly they haven't been around long enough and just because everybody is using them, it doesn't mean that there's not going to be some terrible news about these things down the road. >> we find out things years down the road. leaded gasoline, cigarettes. it takes time for that data to come back. you saw how low tech the safety testing is. i was surprised. i thought it would be much more sophisticated. it's not. i got my cell phone right here. that number that you saw on the piece, 1.6, sort of the absorption rate. if you're on your phone and having a bad signal and a hard time hearing somebody, that means your phone is giving off more radiation at that time trying to get you a better signal. that number is not constant. if you have a bad signal, if you're overseas and having a difficult time hearing somebody, you're getting more radiation at that time.
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so these numbers really pop up and down. >> what is it about the microwave radiation that can potentially cause problems? >> ionizing radiation is one end of the spectrum. that's x-rays. everyone agrees in large amounts that can be a problem. nonionizing is more like a low-powered microwave oven. the question is, at low powers, the question is, at low power, could this be causing tissue to heat up and causing damage that way? we know for the first time this year, from a study at the nih, that cell phones have an impact on the brain. it changes the way the brain metabolizes. so the question is, what is that heating and increased metabolism going to do in the long run? could it lead to cancer? that's what a lot of people are trying to figure out. >> i've gotten a rash at one point in my ear from my cell phone from the heat of it. i'm completely going to switch now based on what you're saying. you also told me that this dr.
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black treated johnny cochran, and what did he tell you about why he thought johnny cochran got a brain tumor? >> it was a conversation with dr. black a few years ago. i asked him about johnny cochran. i said do you have any idea why he got a brain tumor? and he replied, almost without hesitation, and said it was his cell phone usage. i said, come on, there's a lot of studies that show there's no link. he said, i'm convinced of it. i'm saying the science simply has not caught up. people who use their cell phones a lot, you tend to see it. at that time wealthier people had cell phones and jobs that required them to be on the phone a lot. he's starting to see an uptick in brain tumors in that population of people. like you, anderson, it's frightening to think about. but that's what he's starting to see. he's a very busy brain tumor surgeon. >> there's no doubt, i'm going to change my behavior on this one. dr. sanjay gupta, appreciate it. thank you. >> any time. you can see the rest of sanjay's investigation this weekend saturday and sunday 7:30 a.m. eastern time.
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next, one family in mississippi was determined to save their home from the river. we're going to meet them. amazing what they've done, saved their home. and there are those who claim that tomorrow is judgment day. remember you've been warned. ignore at your own peril and join me on tonight's "ridicu-list." ale announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
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we've been reporting all week on the flooding in the south. the worst the region has seen in decades, affecting countless people in nine states. so many homes have been ruined already. but some have been saved with extraordinary effort. look at this picture of a house in mississippi. it's now an island surrounded by a levee. after a family wept to great lengths to protect their home and farm. martin savidge reports. >> reporter: this big island was constructed about 2,200 feet that goes around three acres. sort of a soft-sided square, maybe. it ranges in height from about 8 feet up to maybe 11 feet.
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this is what is keeping essentially the flood waters coming from the mississippi, the back water at bay. when you were doing this, did people think you were crazy? >> nobody actually told me that, but by the looks in their eyes, yeah, some of them thought i was crazy. >> reporter: look at this. this gives you an idea what it's like to be inside the levee. you can see it running up along there. but you would never know by standing right here that there was a massive flood out beyond those walls. you have electricity. >> yeah. >> reporter: you're cut off from the mainland but you still have your electricity? >> yeah. my husband always said we have too much furniture in here, but we took everything out of the bottom cabinets, raised it up, and all the furniture is in storage. >> reporter: so we want to take you next door to their son's house. normally it's only a couple hundred yards walking. but these aren't normal times, so we'll go by boat.
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we're out in the cotton field, or what could be the cotton field. you can see about a thousand acres of it planted out here. but you can see it's nothing but water about as far as the eye can see. and this is the levee as seen by the water's side. what they've done is sometimes the wind blows so strong across the cotton field, you get white caps. this is their son todd's house. as you can see, his levee is a lot steeper and higher, which seems it's a lot deeper down here. but this is that amazing house shot that you see from up above, that lone house standing up against the flood. >> this is our water pump, to pump water. this is the low spot inside the levee and it comes down this drainage and through here. >> reporter: if you get a leak, water comes down to this low spot, this is the pump, it goes back up and you spit it back out? >> that's right. >> reporter: with their fields
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flooded, they don't have anything they can do until the flood waters subside, and the experts say they's not going to happen until at least the middle of june. in the meantime, the family said they always wanted lakefront property. and they actually found the sound of the waves lapping in from the cotton field very peaceful. in yazu county, i'm martin savidge. up next, new information about violence against women in congo. we'll talk to jason sterns about what's being done to stop it, next. [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
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a new study estimates that nearly 2 million women have been raped in the democratic republic of congo. imagine that, 2 million women. the authors of the study believe the problem may be worse than they documented. united nations officials called congo as the epicenter of rape. jason sterns has lived and worked there for a decade. the book "dancing in the glory of monsters" is the story of a war that is as complex as it is cruel. it's apexcellent book. i read it. i talked to jason earlier. people say look, it's the deadliest conflict since world war ii, yet so few people know what's going on there. why do you think that is? why has congo literally kind of dropped off the map or never been put on the map? >> on the one hand it's a conflict that you can put on the same -- in the same place in terms of scope as the cambodian genocide or the jewish holocaust in terms of people killed, 5 million people dead.
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on the other hand, it's a very different kind of war. it's a war where it's difficult to identify heroes or villains. there's no hitler or pol pot, no freedom fighters versus dictators. it's because of this complexity and because there have been 40 different armed groups waging war for many different reasons that people have seemed to care less. the government did have a good reason in 1996 to invade. it was hunting down the people who perpetrated the 1994 genocide. but when those same troops committed the same massacres, the united states gave them a blank check. >> what is it about the congo that has to fascinated you? >> i love the congo. it's a beautiful place. when rule of law in a state breaks down, a lot of terrible things can happen. i think individual persistence and determination can shine through in a way it doesn't elsewhere. >> as you write in the book too, it's not just that there was a war in the congo. there were within wars within
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wars within wars. >> in the book i try to go into this complexity and understand the different motivations. you find very different levels of moral responsibility and complexity, that really -- on the one hand, i try to describe the complexity. on the other hand, i try to weave a simple enough narrative so the general reader can care about the conflict. >> rape has been used as a weapon throughout the years in this war. why do you think that is? >> up to and probably over 400,000 women a year are being raped. >> 400,000 a year, that's extraordinary. i have never heard that number before. >> it's an enormous scale. it's truly terrible. when you get down to understand why it happens, there's various reasons. in some cases, it is used as a direct weapon of war where armed groups go into an area and try to intimidate the population into providing them resources or punish the population for collaborating with their rivals.
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in other cases, armed groups socialize young combatants into their group. so when a new combatant joins the group, they will make him do a particularly reprehensible act such as rape in front of other people. so that could be an explanation why so many are gang rapes carried out in front of family members. >> and the wealth of congo, this is a wealthy country in terms of natural resources. >> the uranium for the hiroshima atomic bomb came from the congo. you have even today in many of our electronics in the united states, you have tin and tungston sourced from the congo. so there's an enormous amount of wealth. >> and everybody has been carrying out pieces of that with them, if you're using a cell phone, because it's used to keep electronics cool, is how i understand it. >> the tin is important parts in electronics around the world,
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particularly in the united states. sexual violence and the conflict minerals that you just described are the issues that have brought the congo to national attention in the united states. >> it's an extraordinary book. no one knows more about the congo than you do. i really appreciate it. the book is extraordinary. thank you for being with us. >> thank you so much. still ahead tonight, this week's cnn hero. a mom who created dozens of families by making adoption affordable for them. her story ahead. [ male announcer ] a moment that starts off ordinary
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also try tide stain release, the in-wash booster from tide. this week's cnn hero is a mom of two, which is a huge job in itself. but in her spare time, she's also helped create 43 other families. here's how and why. ♪ >> i don't care how you become a mother, it's a miracle. one of them making the other one laugh, it's the greatest noise ever. i waited a long time for that kind of noise. jake and brook are both adopted. to adopt our two children, it was over $100,000 in after tax money, paid in full, paid up front. adoption in this country can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on the situation. there are plenty of loving homes out there.
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and the only obstacle is the cost of adoption. my name is becky fawcett and i started an organization that helps people complete the cost of their adoption by awarding financial grants. as a little girl, i dreamed of being a mother. our applicants are hardworking, educated americans. >> she's the light of my life. she's everything to me. the expenses were insurmountable and scary. the money i received took a lot of weight off of my shoulders. >> we've helped to build 43 families since 2007. we're helping people bring their children home and helping all types of families. we believe in families, period. we believe in loving a child, period. my journey to adoption, it's the best thing that ever happened to me. those seeking adoption, there is