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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  August 24, 2011 6:00am-8:00am PDT

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>> translator: the clashes are fierce because i think a route for gadhafi to escape. traffic all day and breaking people in the sunset and we spotted a convoy. possible he may be inside it. this is my unless as a military man. there has been intense firing from all directions for the last three days. there has been a focus on this airport complex more than other locations even in tripoli. this is evidence that gadhafi is in the area but wants to escape from trip a three through here. >> we will see. also reports of shots being fired around the rixos hotel where matthew chance is held up. kyra phillips has more more in the "cnn newsroom." rebels are still in control of moammar gadhafi's compound but gadhafi supporters are not giving up. our crew reports incoming sniper and mortar fire there, plus heavy resistance in other parts of the city. gadhafi still nowhere to be seen but he is being heard.
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arabic networks saying he is walking around in tripoli and calls rebel forces criminals and traitors and rats. more and more the rebels do believe he is still in or near tripoli. in fact, they think two days of fierce fighting near the airport could be pretty significant. we are covering every angle of this story with multiple correspondents on the ground. sara sidner is in tripoli central square and we have arwa damon and frederik pleitgen and zain verjee. let's get to arwa damon right near the airport on the latest on the clashes. >> there were grad rockets fired at the airport complex earlier today. the fighting around here has been quite intense. and the rebel commander who led the assault on the airport believes that that fighting is directly linked to the whereabouts of colonel gadhafi himself.
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>> translator: the clashes are fierce because i think a route for gaffy to escape to other places. traffic all day and breaking people in the sunset and we spotted a convoy. possible he may be inside it. this is my analysis as a military man. there has been intense firing from all directions for the last three days. there has been a focus on this airport complex more than other locations even in tripoli. this is evidence that gadhafi is in the area but wants to escape from tripoli through here. >> the commanders at the airport were telling us themselves after the initial rush into tripoli they were forced to pull back from certain locations after it appeared that gadhafi forces remassed and reorganize kourcou attacks. they do realize that they need
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to be able to structure themselves militarily so they can hold the ground they have gained so far but what they have done is in moving into tripoli, they have managed to set up sleeper cells inside the city when they gave the signal a few days ago those sleeper cells had a fairly sophisticated structure managed to join in the uprising. on the one hand, we have seen them gain this experience and gain the level of sophistication and on the other hand see them act as a rag tag group and moving in without paying full attention into the kind of situation and muscly militarily analyzing the situations they are getting into. >> that was our arwa damon that is outside of the airport of tripoli. we will talk to her the next two hours. gadhafi compound has fall and regime in shambles and we still don't know where he is but we did hear an audio recording last night purported to be from him but that doesn't mean he is
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in tripoli. zain verjee joins us from london. it's all speculation but what are people saying around the world about where gadhafi is hiding? you've been tracking the headlines. >> reporter: yeah. no one knows for sure exactly where he is and anybody who says they know, probably doesn't. it's a really difficult situation and really unclear to know exactly how long it will take to get him. i've been looking at some u.s. embassy cables pushblished by wikileaks. this is a flamboyant material guy who presided over a very brutal regime. the first thing these cables reveal is that he has a real fear of flying over water. the u.s. ambassador was quoted in these cables saying he has a dislike of any long flights. he also has been described as having an intense dislike of staying on the upper floors of any buildings. if you just look at some video that we have -- had taken back
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in 2009 when he was in new york city, he took along his good old tent and pitched it up in a garden. he wants to be in an environment that he is comfortable in and one that he trusts. lastly, the cables talk about the hundreds of bodyguard and they focus on the female bodyguards he likes to be surrounded by and traveled with him everywhere. the cables also talk about how much of a diminished role that they have played over the years. the u.s. embassy cables published by wikileaks talk about this gadhafi is a very complicated person and he has managed to stay in power for so long, kyra, 42 years by cleverly maneuvering himself around the different power structures of the country, the different tribes of the country too. he has been able to manage very well a balancing act, partly because of all the oil revenue that he has been able to get from the oil in libya and then
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paying off and giving money to different groups to win over that trust. >> we are going to stay on the search. zain verjee out of london, thanks so much. there is more fierce fighting that is making it dangerous for journalists to leave the rixos hotel. gadhafi loyalists are making it impossible as well and forb forbidding cnn's matthew chance and other journalists from leaving the hotel for their own safety the guards say. there was unexpected movement at the hotel today and our matthew chance gives us an update. >> we have had one journalist come through. we have mlganaged to find their way from the outside. he is allowed to take one of the journalists inside the rixos holed up here because it is still controlled by the government. one was was a shocking trip.
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take that one person out and basically take them away. but what happened when got outside with this journalist who was leaving with him, there was a gunfight and the driver of the car who was waiting for them fled in a hurry and left them stranded in the hotel. that is some additional person in the hotel. then shortly afterwards, some more journalists arrived at the hotel. a gunfight. they fled into the hotel. additional four people came inside. the past 50 minutes we have had five additional international journalists, most of them american citizens as far as we can make out who have come into this hotel. perhaps an attempt to do some reporting on what is going on here. they have found themselves now in the same situation we are in. >> that was our matthew chance. tough to get in touch with him considering the situation he is in but he had a chance to file that for us within the last hour or so. we hope to get him back on the line to find out what the
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conditions are there at the rixos hotel. move closer to home now. hurricane irene hitting the headlines. jacqui jeras, looks like you just got a brand-new model in. we were talking about the bahamas. what do we know now? >> we have taken a look at the computer model forecast. these are the spaghetti plots we call them and as we take a look at them, we have noticed an even greater consensus of the those models towards the carolinas that they are offshore. only one model now bringing it out over the outer banks of north carolina. everything is shifting on off to the east. as we take a look at them further out in time, the other new thing we have noticed here is there is an even greater spread as we head into the mid-atlantic and northeast. when we see them spread apart like this, there is greater unseru uncertainty as to the track of this forecast. i want to point out the better models, this is a very good and
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accurate computer model and more of the reliable models. so some of it bring it over new jersey and some over new york. i don't like to see that. now, the official forecast from the national hurricane center will show you this storm intensifying. it's a category 3 now with the winds at 115 miles per hour. that makes it a major hurricane and here is the official track bringing it still near the outer banks, at least as we head into the weekend. then up to the coast. but look at how huge that cone of uncertainty is. that is because we see these errors that far out in time. at 11:00 eastern time the hurricane center will update their track and see if they follow suit along with the computer models and see if that pushes farther off to the east. >> isn't it bizarre to see new york, boston? >> it doesn't happen every day but we have had hurricanes like gloria, we had hurricanes like bob. it would be a very, very
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disastrous situation to get a hurricane here. even if we don't get a hit in the northeast and still stays offshore a major ground event and worried about flooding and the winds we think will be strong enough that power outages could be expected as well. >> jacqui, thanks. you mentioned southeastern bahamas and where our jim spelman is. things are pretty calm right now, though, right, jim? >> reporter: yeah. windier earlier and first bout of rains but it will come and go as the spands start moving in. right now, calm and beautiful in the bahamas. it's a beautiful country. they are bracing for this storm. the shopkeepers here in downtown nassau putting up shutters and plywood over the windows and flooding they expect, i spoke to a shopkeeper who says it floods two feet on a good storm. they are ready for five or six feet of water in downtown nassau. that is what they are preparing for here. all of the tourists here are
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being encouraged to get out. the cruise ships pulled up this morning and took off and the airport will close in a few hours. the last few flights of tourists leaving. the rest of the tourists who couldn't get out have to hole up in hotels which are in good shape here. the island is 20 miles long and not a lot of places to go to get out of the way of the storm. >> are you gearing up for a long day, long night? >> absolutely. you know how it is. >> reporter: covering the hurricanes you have to get ready because they don't come on our schedule, they come on their own schedule. >> isn't that the truth. keep us up-to-date. appreciate it. the strongest rumble to rattle the region in decades. yesterday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in virginia and felt by people in northern new england to georgia. no extensive damage reports as of now, but the washington monument is actually one of several structures showing some cracks. cnn's brian todd is live near the epi center.
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when have we said mineral, virginia, the epi center of an earthquake, brian? >> right. >> you wouldn't think this would be a epi center of a natural event lie i like this. >> reporter: there was significant damage to the middle school and high school in this town. minor injuries reported. not significant damage as far as heavy structural damage to these buildings here. two houses did collapse but one of them had been abandoned and one was not occupied at the time. so that is the extent of the damage in the town. but there is real concern here about the facility behind me. this is the norn anna nuclear power plant. both of the nuclear reactors here are offline and been offline since the earthquake hit yesterday. they don't anticipate getting back online for another day. they have to run down the safety checks. what they have been able to tell it us, though, the power from the outside grid has been restored to the cooling systems in this facility. that means that the cooling
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systems which cool down the nuclear reactor and the spent fuel pools are now running off power from the grid. they had been running on backup generator power. that quashes any fears of a fukushima like repeat whether radioactivity and a meltdown essentially at fukushima. they say it's not a possibility here. no radioactivity has leaked and the areas that house the spent fuel rods are safe. >> that is good news. meanwhile, being an unusual place for this to happen, what has the reaction been like there in mineral? >> reporter: it's still kind of a state of shell shock here. you go around to talk to people in this town and in washington, d.c. where we came from right after the earthquake, people still just can't believe this happened. this is a natural event that just does not happen on the east coast. we have been reporting on this since yesterday. this is the biggest earthquake
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of the east coast in 67 years. the biggest one in virginia in 114 years. people are not used to it and people assessing the damage of their homes, structure damage as we mentioned and not significant damage but enough to cause them a great deal of worry. some people, we did talk to a gentleman yesterday who said he can't go back into his home and told to keep out of it and people are assessing whether they have insurance to cover some of this stuff. just a lot of concern right now and we may not be done with the aftershocks yet. >> brian todd, we will be talking more. appreciate it. no matter who ends up in control of libya, americans will be part of the rebuilding process. just ahead, we will talk about someone who is doing some of that work and also talk to him about what he learned helping rebuild iraq. beneful healthy fiesta. gotta love the protein for muscles-- whoo-hoo! and omega-rich nutrition for that shiny coat. ever think healthy could taste so good? [ woman announcing ] new beneful healthy fiesta.
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gadhafi's compound has fallen and his regime imploded but what will a new libya will look like is far from clear and one thing for certain, americans will be involved. already numerous american companies doing billions of dollars of work in into libya. add miles an hour cubic is one of them and he had a pivotal role in rebuilding iraq and joins me this morning live from virginia beach. good to see you. >> good to see you, kyra, as well. >> you were in iraq. and now you have been in libya and you are dealing with libya as this change is taking place. you know, how do you even begin to move forward and rebuild a country like this when you've got a dictator that is still m.i.a. and a regime that is completely crumbling? >> right now, you can't do much of anything, kyra. we actually left on february
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10th before this actually started. we have been monitoring it very, very carefully and they are going to have to be a governing group emerge that can actually provide security and control what is going on, i think, before any businesses can really reengage. >> i was with you in iraq when saddam fell and you were in charge of the rebuilding there. you also dealt with the transition of power. so what do you think? is this going to be easy or more difficult than what you dealt with in iraq? >> from the standpoint of rebuilding, maybe a little easier, because they have a lot of advanced infrastructure, they have a lot of capability or at least they had but from the transition of power i think it's going to be really hard. what you have there are 2,000 tribes spread over about 6 million people, all of whom were united by a strong man who is no longer there and a governing
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council or transition council has lost control. i am getting reports there ask no security in tripoli and people hiding in their homes while gangs of youth, many of them under 25, are basically looting and killing and until somebody can step forward and say we have control and hopefully begin to broker some sort of truce and stop the fighting, it is going to be difficult to give a transition of power because there really aren't a lot of roots there that we can build upon. >> taking into account what you just said, all of the tribal members and what we are seeing with regard to destruction, civil war, chaos, disorganization, would you rather be dealing with a single dictator like gadhafi, or a fractured -- or a transitional council? >> actually, neither, kyra. i mean, i think the point now is that we need to take gadhafi out of the equation.
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however, he is going to be settled, somebody needs to deal with that but what we need to look at are the libyan people and who are going to emerge as the governing authority that has legitimacy. you know, gadhafi did have a peoples congress that was organized in three tiers at the local level, regional, and national level, and they did meet and debated issues and even passed budgets. unfortunately, they were all appointed by gadhafi. but i think in their tribal culture and the way they have governed themselves for the past 40 years, that people's congress has to be reactivated hopefully with people who are selected by their local its to begin the rebuilding process and i think the transition council has to recognize that and they have to begin to add legitimacy to govern all of the people and not just a couple of thousand that actually started this conflict. and so, again, i do think that we have to find a way to bring the people of libya here,
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separate that from their leader, stop worrying about him and start worrying about the people. >> appreciate your time today. >> thanks, kyra. >> you bet. wall street saw the dow surge more than 300 points yesterday. we will go to new york and the stock exchange and predict what can happen today. amy winehouse toxology results in rin. her cause of death still a mystery. next, we will hear what her family members are saying about the report. seven professional drivers. the bad news is, only one of those seven seats is the driver's seat. [ tires screech ] [ engine revving ] the s.u.v. is back. right now, get $2,000 cash allowance or 0% apr financing on the 2011 dodge durango. [ announcer ] who could resist the call... of america's number-one puppy food brand?
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showbiz headlines. will and jada pinkett-smith say they are not splitting up. mrs. smith's rep says that
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rumors about her being involved with hawthorne co-star marc anthony are not true. craig ferguson said someone mailed into his show white powder claiming it was anthrax. >> i was frightened shrast the late, late show employees had to leave and nobody getting any work done. it was just like a regular day! but they was going crazy. i said the helicopters are buzzing everywhere. people are rushing around. this is the most attention this show has gotten -- it's the most attention the show has! >> thankful the powder wasn't dangerous. authorities are investigating the case. toxicology results are in for the death of amy winehouse. zain verjee is joining us out of london. she was known to use drugs so what do the results show? >> reporter: a bit of a surprise to many people, kyra, who expected that that would show up in these toxicology results. a family has come out to make a statement and they have had said
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there is no illegal substance that has been found in her system at all when she died last month. they also say that the toxicology results show that alcohol was present in her system but it's really not clear whether that was the cause of death. so there will likely be further tests to determine what the cause of death actually was. she died last month here in london, kyra. she was only 27 years old. she had battled with addiction of drugs and alcohol abuse. she had actually just come out of rehab and then she had gone to serbia to have a big comeback concert and that was a total disaster and she was booed off the stage. i was looking at an interview she did with cnn back in 2007 where she said, i don't care enough what people think about me to conform to anything. kyra? >> zain verjee out of london. she definitely wasn't a conformist, that is for sure. let's head to business now. carter evans is at the new york stock exchange where we watched the dow surge more than 300
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points yesterday. carter a nice little rally. >> reporter: yeah. nice rally. it was looking like we would give some of that back today. dow futures down a hundred points and not pretty much flat lined. a report on durable orders jumped 4% in july. these are planes, cars, trucks, things that last a long time and jumped 4% in july and a whole lot better than expected and it's mostly due to aircraft orders. still a good sign for manufacturers in general if we do turn positive today, it would add to yesterday's 322-point gain. it's not really a bad rally lately. the dow is up six of the past nine sessions and nearly every dow 30 stock rose yesterday. >> so with the gains that we have seen over the past few days have stocks made up for the big losses of earlier this month or is there still more to go? >> reporter: you know, we have a long way to go. it's been a really rough august. the picture is not as bad as for the year so far, though. let's take a look at the dow.
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down nearly 3 1/2%. it's not bad considering the losses we have been seeing this month and in july. but the long-term picture still in doubt. we still have the european debt problems. they haven't been solved. the u.s. economy is not on solid footing and lawmakers have to make a big, big decision by thanksgiving what to cut in the budget. we have a long road aheahead. carter evans from the new york stock exchange, thanks. coming up. it was a historic moment and our sa sara sidner was there. check.
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hurricane irene a powerful category 3 storms with winds of 115 miles an hour. it could impact the east coast this weekend. yesterday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in virginia and felt as far away as canada. clashes continue in tripoli
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between libyan rebels and gadhafi loyalists. gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown. cnn sara sidner was with libyan rebels for their big try umpt yesterday. a historic and hectic experience. >> reporter: this is the moment that they have broken in to gadhafi's compound bab al aziziya. a major victory psychologically for them they say because this is where they believe the gaffy family spend most of the time and they they can swaim in his swimming pool and taking his files out. we have seen files of his son, of his son's wife and so we are sure that they were able to get inside there. and we are following behind rebels who are taking us into the compound. they say it's safe. we know that sometimes they are not sure exactly what they might encounter even inside of that large compound but we were seeing amazing celebrations in
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the neighborhood near bab al aziziya and hope to get into the compound in a few moments here. we are walking into gadhafi's compound of bab al aziziya. the rebels have taken the compound. we are going in to see what we can see so this is bab al aziziya. they now have people standing as securi security. okay, they are thelg us okay, okay. we can go inside to the compound. so as everybody runs into this compound, you're seeing people go in and take out weapons. look just over there behind you. a huge box. this box, can i look? some of the weapons inside of the gadhafi compound, a handgun and a rifle, more guns, more guns. these guys have found. and so they have been taking some of these things out. the weapons that are coming out of this compound are just
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massive. there's so many of them. boxes of them just people carrying them, carrying them out. they are even taking some of the trucks that belonged to gadhafi forces. this is an important day, especially for the rebels who gadhafi said would never be able to break his spirit, would never be able to take the city, but they have taken bab al aziziya. gadhafi's found. compound. now you can see some of the press coming out, so, clearly, they had had. clearly, they have taken this over and, clearly, there is extreme excitement here in tripoli. >> sara and her crew were at the compound again this morning. sara, what was it like compared to the chaos yesterday? >> reporter: it looked very calm actually when we first went in. there were some rebels that were going into the area, again, going through the big compound there. the compound is large.
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if i can give you an idea, it's like a neighborhood, that big. many different sides to it. as we got closer and closer into those gates where you saw -- i mean, i talked to you yesterday, kyra, we heard incoming fire. fire coming from outside of the compound from the east, coming into the compound. we looked to our right and we saw several mortars that are fallen. the result of several mortars had fallen. there was smoke and then we actually heard bullets fly past our heads. that was it. we had to get out of the way. so, clearly, there has been still some fighting, some of gadhafi's loyalists and forces in the eastern side of the compound on the outskirts of the compound shooting into the compound. that still is going on there in bab al aziziya. we retreated to this area. this is the main square. it was called green square. when gadhafi was in power. now the rebels who have taken over say this is martar square
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dedicated to those who have died in this fight, in this revolution. they have been here. we were here with them overnight at 3:00 in the morning. it's now 3:00 something in the afternoon and they are still firing shots into the air. i should mention, though, while you have these guys firing shots into the air and celebrating, you do have still a firefight going on and we have a situation with international correspondents in a hotel that everyone has come to know about. and it's one of those situations where you do start to wonder, you know, at some point, i think, the rebels have to organize and get down to business and we're not seeing that all over the city. we do know that they are in control of much of the city, but we also know there are areas where there are still snipers that are believed to be in buildings and there are still fighting and, yet, you have this celebratory gunfire. you have to wonder why they are not getting all of their efforts to try to do and get the job done what they came here to do. >> my heart is beating just
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listening to you and i know you are saying this is celebratory gunfire. you mentioned yesterday that you really didn't know for sure if you had gadhafi supporters around you when you were -- when you got into tripoli finally and you were up live talking to us. so how, indeed, do you know you are in a safe position and you are surrounded by rebels more so than gadhafi supporters? you still don't know, right? >> reporter: well, usually what happens is we assess the situation. we do not just roll up into these situations. and start going live. we are very careful with how we decide where to go. what we do is we make contact with some of the rebels, we try to figure out where they are and what they are doing. we make our contacts with more than one. we oftentimes will get escorted into a place where they say is safe and then we use our own judgment. i went around the square to see what we were dealing with a
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little bit going behind buildings and this is definitely these explosions in the air even though they are using heavy arm fire in some cases, definitely celebratory gunfire. we do keep an eye out and it's all about the contacts you have on the ground to make sure that you are not going into a place where you are going to be faced with gadhafi forces who are angry, generally angry, especially with the international media at who would either, you know, take us hostage or try to kill us or harm us in some way. so we take precautions in believing in our sources and the people that we have been in contact and with our own vision. >> well, before i let you go, if you don't mind, you say with your own vision. can you describe what you see behind you and do you see what we are hearing? >> reporter: yes. i know what you guys are hearing because it's so loud here! i will see if i can just move out of the way. you can't really see it from here. they are very close. they are just beyond the middle
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of the square. there are two large pillars and they are shooting sort of away from town. they are just outside what is the old town. this is a place where people -- that is, obviously, a large cannon going off there. some of this is antiaircraft missiles. they have used weapons from all different parts of the country and brought them here. they are rigged them on to the backs of trucks, for example, things that really aren't supposed to be on the backs of trucks. they are blowing off right now. a little disconcerting, i have to say, but this is the old city. this area used to be where people would come and shop and enjoy. you could buy just down there in the old city, you could buy souvenirs with gadhafi on them. as a person being here, i am concerned about the residents. with all of this gunfire even if it's celebratory this gunfire,
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these bullets and these cannons and these mortars have to fall somewhere and this is not a large open space area. this is an urban setting and we are starting to see residents come out and they are literally walking around with bowls their head made of steel hoping not to get hit with anything. it begins -- it begins to really bother you when you see children walking in these streets knowing that these bullets have to come down somewhere and we know that people in the past, in conflicts, have been killed by celebratory gunfire. >> just for full disclosure, please let me know if you need to go. i know you have a security team with you. you have a photographer there with you. just please tell me and i'll ask our producers to let me know as well from what they can see in the control room if we need to dump out of this at any moment. boy, is this a tremendous live shot with regard to giving us a feel what is happening there where you are. on that note of the resresident
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we haven't been able to go door-to-door to see what everyday life is like for the average citizen there in tripoli right now. i know that you're working the story. you're working the angle of gadhafi, where is he, the rebel forces fighting with gadhafi supporters. you gave us a glimpse into what it's like for the libyan people right now. are you seeing still people getting in their cars and leaving the exits we talked about yesterday? are people staying holed up their homes? is business in any way, shape, or form operating there where you are, or is everything shutdown? >> reporter: most things are shut down. i can tell you there is a difference today. it is amazing how things change in just a few hours' time. when we left the city, people were leaving. today, when we came in the city, people were coming back in. i'm, right now, looking at a little girl holding a flag. can you ask her to come over?
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holding a flag. this is the first time -- no, no, this is the first time that we have seen residents kind of walking around, families walking around. a young lady who is here and you'll notice she is just in her t-shirt. she has a rebel flag and they are walking to see what is happening in the city and it does give you a little bit of pause because you worry. these kids are out here and you hear all of this gunfire. you have gentlemen walking by with guns and doing doughnuts and shooting out the window, anything can happen. okay, sweetie, let's have her go with her dad. >> did she speak english? do she speak english, sara, by chance? >> reporter: no, no, only arabic. >> are you seeing more families come out like this? >> reporter: yes. yes. just today. just in the past few hours, we are seeing more families. i see another one there with a little boy walking around and we
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have seen even babies, you know, mothers carrying babies in cars and waving the flag outside of the car. but it isn't like it's dozens. we are seeing a few here and there. i've seen probably ten in the last furew hours coming out arod the square and walking around. it is a different scene. i think people feel like the gadhafi regime is finished and that they no longer have to worry and willing to show their faces and not willing to do that two days ago. people were concerned if their names were used, that their families would be arrested and tortured. no longer the case. people are willing to show their faces and willing to tell us their names. people are starting to relax, those that supported the rebels and that hated gadhafi regime beginning to relax here in the city even with all of this gunfire going on and even though they know there is still some parts of the city that are not safe and gadhafi forces still have some sort of presence in.
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>> our sara sidner live out of tripoli doing a absolutely remarkable job for us covering this story. sara, thank you so much. i understand we have been able to connect with our arwa damon who is live. just not far from the airport, is that right, arwa? as you get miked up there, are you still not far from the airport and what can you tell us about the talk about gadhafi possibly hiding out on a farm not far from where you are? okay, looks like -- there we go. we go ahead. >> reporter: i think our signal may have just gone down. >> you're back up, arwa. can you hear me okay? okay. we are still working on that connection with arwa. as you can see, it's a fluid situation. technology doesn't always work in our favor. we are going to try to reconnect with arwa damon just outside the
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airport in tripoli where there has been talk possibly airplanes on standby for moammar gadhafi, possibly an exit plan and possibly hiding out on a farm there near the airport. arwa damon is working her sources and that part of the story and try to get to her after the break. more from the "cnn newsroom" after this. ♪ [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over.
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with the live signal but we have arwa damon calling in to us where she is near the tripoli airport. there have been reports that possibly moammar gadhafi hiding out on a farm not far from where you are and not far from tripoli's airport. what can you tell us about that information? >> reporter: the consider commander says the intensity of fighting he has been seeing around the airport with multiple attacks being launched at times simultaneously is directly linked to gadhafi's whereabouts. he says he believes that his loyalists are trying to clear a route through tripoli to the east of sirte for him to escape
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inside of labia or perhaps out of the country or he says he already to the east of this complex. loyalists trying to protect. he says that last night, when the fighters breaking their fast, they spotted a convoy that included an armor mercedes. he thinks gadhafi was traveling in that vehicle. he said as they passed this information on to nato, we have been hearing nato jets overhead and all day today, gadhafi loyalists are firing ground rockets at the complex. we are still hearing the sounds of explosions and still hearing heavy automatic machine gunfire. >> arwa damon, a little hard to understand there. we will still try to get a better connection with you. for our viewers, arwa damon is outside tripoli's international airport there and she is reporting to us rebels saying they believe they possibly could have spotted moammar gadhafi in
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a convoy traveling possibly in an armed mercedes, discussing the possibilities of an exit plan. our arwa damon is going to continue to work her sources there. she is with the rebels, not far, just outside the airport. we will continue to talk to her as we can work on that connection. arwa, if you still hear me, we appreciate you calling in and trying to make connectivity with us. we will keep trying. the ferocious fighting today has made it extremely dangerous for journalists to not only venture out on the streets but rixos hotel, gadhafi loyalists are forbidding cnn's matthew chance and 35 other journalists from leaving that hotel and say it's for their own safety. matthew chance had a chance to call in not long ago and give us this update from where he is. >> been taking incoming
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artillery shells. snipers target the hotel. many of the windows smashed by sniper bullet and stray bullets as well. lobby of the hotel gadhafi loyalists are armed with rifles. many of the journalists have taken upon themselves to wear body armor and congregate in a certain place in the hotel because we think this is the safest place for us to be. >> there has been a lot of attention on this rixos hotel because it seems to be a favorite of moammar gadhafi's as well. you may remember this when he was mobbed by reporters as he strolled through its lobby back in march. well, now it's on virtual lockdown, so why is this hotel so important to the regime? >> professor at western connecticut state university and aide and translator to colonel gadhafi, he's been joining us every day this week, giving his perspective on what's taking
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place in libya, procfessor, let me ask you, you worked side-by-side gadhafi for many years why would this rixos hotel be so heavily guarded by gadhafi supporters? >> this hotel is one of the newest to begin with, and it was the family's favorite hotel before the whole revolution took place. also this hotel is located in the area that's close to the compound and also close to the airport and close to the area, which is predominantly supporters and loyalists for gadhafi, the area and the region and other neighborhood next to it. it's called bucelene, and those two areas are basically inhabited by two upscale areas that's inhabited by the regime's
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loyalists, and i see the point of keeping the journalists in this hotel is to use them if they need to relay something to the outside world. see, you know, unfortunately for matthew and his company, that they are being held hostage to be used in case the loyalists wanted to show something to the outside world. so they will be their instrument of doing that, and that, you know, although they claim they are protecting them, they are actually just keeping them so they can use them any time they wanted. >> that is obviously your perspective from a former aide to gadhafi. >> exactly, because he loved his control over the libyan television, so his outlet -- if you remember a couple of nights ago, his son came to the hotel and just put himself in front of the camera for the rest of the
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world to see, so that's basically why they holding them there, because they wanted them to be their outlet to the outside world. >> do you believe they are safe, they are not getting food or water, electricity is sporadic, do you think our journalists are safe there? >> my estimation is they are going to be safe as long as they are useful. that's the thing. you know, if the loyalists begin to lose that area, the rebels will come in, so basically, you know, and i am praying to god that nothing happens to them in that particular transition and moment. >> well, that is a frightening thought, sir. >> people fleeing and the rebels coming. >> final question to you about this hotel, what do you know about its architecture, you know, there have been reports out there, we have not been able
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to confirm this, but the reports are out there that possibly there are special exits, there possibly are tunnels located underneath this hotel. is that true, knowing what you know as a former aide to moammar gadhafi? >> this is a new hotel, so it was designed by those facilities, you know, all of the hold hotels didn't have that, and it would have been obvious to do, to dig tunnels underneath them and all of that kind of stuff, but this has been built specifically to have an easy access to the airport, to have all of these kind of exits. i haven't seen the hotel, because this is a new hotel, but i know of plans that they will have secret exits out of this hotel. >> professor, former aide to moammar gadhafi, you've been helping us all this week, giving
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us insight to what's happening in libya, i appreciate you calling in, thank you. we're also tracking hurricane irene, now considered a major storm as it reaches category three status. [ man ] natural gas vehicles are used somewhere...
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but not in my neighborhood. ♪ [ female announcer ] we're throwing away misperceptions about natural gas vehicles. more of the vehicles that fuel our lives use clean american natural gas today. it costs about 40 percent less than gasoline, so why aren't we using it even more? start a conversation about using more natural gas vehicles in your community. okay, we're keeping a close eye on hurricane irene for you, it's now a cat-3 storm, folks from florida to the northeast
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worried now, but our meteorologist is tracking it for us, going to bring us up to date, hopefully we don't have to worry as much as -- it's still up in the air. >> florida doesn't have to worry as much anymore, but outer banks on northward, it's anybody's ball game still at this point. this is a very intense hurricane, it's continuing to get stronger, 115 mile per hour winds, getting ready to get into the bahamas, forecast track here, this is the latest from the hurricane center, through the bahamas before it starts the northerly turn, the cone includes everybody through the outer banks through new england. we'll keep you up to date and talk about the flood threat with this thing, kyra, even if it doesn't make landfall. thanks, the airport still rages on, we'll take you there once again right after the break.
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-- captions by vitac -- hi, let's check the latest now from libya. here's what we know, things have calmed down at the gadhafi compound. crew reported incoming sniper fire a little while ago, meantime, more fierce fighting near the airport, that's where arwa damon is, the resistance has been so fierce they wonder if gadhafi might be nearby. we're covering every angle of the story, sara sidner is in tripoli's central square, arwa damon at the international airport, and barbara star has the pentagon perspective. she's going to join us live out of london.
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straight to sara sidner once again right there in the heart of tripoli. sara, as you mentioned earlier, green square has now been renamed by the locals martyr square. >> reporter: yes, and there's lots of celebratory gunfire continuing to go on, we even saw one gunner point to the city and hit one of these buildings here. i think that is becoming a bit of a problem, and you have to wonder, if there's a big firefight which we know there is and they know there is, near the airport and there are still gadhafi forces east of the compound that are shooting into the compound, why isn't everyone trying to go and take care of that fight? i think what you're seeing here is the disorganization that's started, because when they went through and broke through bab al-aziziya, to everyone here, that felt like this was the end of the gadhafi regime, and people for 40-something years,
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42 years, have been waiting for that moment, they now feel the regime has fallen, yet you have the massive firefights going on and you manage they'd need all the strategy they could use, and you're seeing all over the city, people from misrata, groups all congregating here, and the organization doesn't seem to be as good even as it was yesterday, knowing that these firefights are still going on in a couple of neighborhoods, kyra? >> sara, when i talked to you last hour you made the point that even though this is celebratory gunfire, it's still dangerous out there, even when it's celebratory gunfire, and you say you're actually seeing families coming out with their kids. we've been wondering how the libyan people have been responding, and we haven't seen a lot from that perspective, but you are starting to see that
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today. >> reporter: kyra, i've just lost you. i can no longer hear you, and i'm not sure you can hear me, but what i can tell you about these families that are coming out here to the square is that they are just extremely relieved. they are coming out here to show their support for the rebels. they say they have no more fear, they are tired of being afraid, that's why families are bringing their children out, they want them to see history being made and show them it's okay to walk around, yet not a lot of people not cognizant of the fact these bullets have to come down somewhere. >> we'll try to re-connect our audio with sara sidner in tripoli. folks in libya are still in full celebration mode.
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>> reporter: the people here in the de facto rebel capital of libya, benghazi are partying harder than they have before, this is the first time they truly believe moammar gadhafi will not return here to this country -- thank you very much. they say it's the first time they truly believe moammar gadhafi will not come back. keep in mind, this is the town where the uprising started. it's a town that was almost taken by gadhafi troops during this uprising, and it's now one, of course, they believe they've finally won this battle. however, people here tell us everyone though they are very happy with what's going on, they still believe there's a lot of work to become. >> translator: today's a big party, because it's gadhafi's last day. thank god it's gadhafi's last day. we're thankful for our army, martyrs, and nato for their help. today libya's tree.
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>> translator: the education before was horrible. everyone went abroad to study to get a better education. god willing, the future will be better for my son. after six years, hopefully everything will be better and we'll have a good education system. >> very good future, because after gadhafi's out, libya's going to be much better. more people are going to learn all the languages. >> reporter: of course, even though they have these celebrations going on right now, people say they realize there's going to be a rocky road ahead, a lot of national unity that has to be created, and also a lot of wounds that need to heal. >> there's now fierce speculation about where gadhafi could be. we did hear an audio recording last night reported to be from him, but it gave no indication of his whereabouts. barbara star joining me now, what exactly does the pentagon
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know about where he might be and how are they tracking these qualms? >> the word they are getting is what everybody is getting, they don't know where gadhafi is of the they look to try and verify and nato, of course, is really taking the lead on the part of the coalition in trying to get this situation in libya under control. what we do know now about nato operations is they are getting help from special forces from four key countries, britain, france, jordan, and qatar have special forces troops on the ground, they've been moving with the rebel forces, they are helping them with communications, organization tactics, what you have seen over the last 48 hours in terms of the rebel advance on tripoli, is those special forces very quietly working to help the rebels, and they are also doing some targeting on the ground so nato war planes can continue to conduct those precision strikes,
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especially on gadhafi's compound and out near the airport without putting civilians at risk. so you're seeing a lot going on under the surface, but in terms of where gadhafi is, nobody seems to know, kyra? >> what are the thoughts about who would take over and where do we go from here? >> really, i think it's fair to say nato and the united states and the allies have cast their lot with the transitional national council and the people that represent them. they are going to want to see that group very quickly establish control. that means a government, economic, political, social security control, all of that, but even as we say that, it's that security piece that we all know from afghanistan and iraq that is central. they have to establish security, they have to demonstrate that they have control over these fighters, and that they have control over weapons. libya's one of the most
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heavily-armed countries in the world, let alone the mustard gas supplies they still have. hundreds of thousands of missiles, rockets, artillery, scud missiles, all of that has to come under control and real sort of normal society, if you will, be quickly reestablished. everyone saw how tough that was in iraq, and i think people are watching libya very closely to see if they have a better chance with this transitional council of making that quickly happen. >> we'll all be paying attention, thanks. live with reaction around the world, you've been reading all the headlines. >> i have, kyra. let's take a look at what they are saying. this is "the guardian's" headline, it will be weeks before we have a sense of where libya is heading, months before there's any certainty about its future and years before we can properly assess the impact of
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the decision to use force to aide the rebels. take a look at the national, its headline, west may not have the will or finances to rebuild libya. it says the n.t.c. has yesterday to prove itself a viable steward of an inevitably messy transition, and they enable the rebels march on tripoli is that it won't be easy to walk away from its consequences. finally "the daily telegraph," kyra, we have proved that intervention can still work. it says constrained intervention with the global legitimacy the u.n. backing confers can be better than no intervention at all and can likely do more lasting good than going it alone. kyra? >> monitoring the international reaction of libya for us, saying thanks. coming up, she has more wins
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those reported audiotapes that he has released. obviously, we can't prove if they are authentic or not, but it has been something to try and give us an inkling into where he might be, if he's still alive. and the other part is, the rebels traveling with -- arwa damon, rather, traveling with a sect or section of rebels not far from tripoli's airport, telling her they believe they spotted a convoy they believe moammar gadhafi might have been a part of, possibly planning an exit from the airport here in tripoli. apparently, we have reconnected with arwa. she's able to call in. arwa, can you hear me okay, and can you just bring us up to date about what the rebels are telling you about this convoy, moammar gadhafi in this convoy, and if, indeed, there are
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aircraft you spotted there at the airport? >> reporter: yeah, we're actually located at the international airport itself, and the commanders say that they spotted this convoy yesterday at around sunset, just as rebel fighters would have been taking a bit of a break to break their fast, the holy day, that's when they spotted the convoy that contained an armored mercedes they believe gadhafi could have been traveling in. he believes the intensity of the fighting around this airport, at times attacks coming from both sides launched simultaneously, complex attacks, is directly linked to gadhafi loyalists either trying to clear a route for gadhafi to travel from tripoli to other parts of the country or that he is already in the farmlands located to the east of the airport. there are also two military bases located to the east as well, but the commander was
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saying that the battle for this airport and around it -- and the defense of any other compound, even those inside tripoli, which is why as a military man, he says he believes that is directly linked to gadhafi -- top aide to gadhafi, he had just switched sides, and he said he believes gadhafi will still be in the tripoli vicinity and he would never leave libya, kyra? >> you're right there at the airport, i was told you are outside of the airport, but are you actually right there inside, close to the runway? if so, are there aircraft there at the airport, arwa? >> reporter: yeah, kyra, we are inside the airport complex. we are not too far away from the runways, we have been seeing the aircrafts, there are a number of aircrafts, some belonging to the libyan government, other belonging to other nations.
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the runway, as of now, does not appear to have been damaged in any way, shape, or form, but gadhafi forces are trying to target the runway, trying to target the aircrafts to cause as much damage as they possibly can. we were asking the rebel commander if he believes the gadhafi forces want to take back the airport to try to somehow fly gadhafi out of the country. he said if that were, in fact, the case, it would be happening and i quote "over their dead bodies." >> arwa, that leads me to my next question, rebels telling you they believe gadhafi might be hanging out in a farm not far from the airport, what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: the gadhafi family owns a farm not far away from here, a complex, fairly elaborate, but it's not heavily protected, so the commanders don't necessarily believe he'd be at that location, plus, it is the
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fairly well known. this is an area not yet under rebel control. they are also speculating he could be trying to go to the south of the country or perhaps trying to loop his way around to an area he has a high number of supporters, it's an area where there are gadhafi loylists who can try to protect him. >> arwa damon there at the international airport, arwa, thanks very much, keep us updated, please. back in the united states, talking about yesterday's 5.8-magnitude earthquake was felt by millions of people from northern new england all the way to here in georgia. no extensive damage reports as of now, but the washington monument is one of several structures that's showing some cracks. brian todd is near the epicenter, mineral, virginia. you and i were saying last hour, brian, i don't think we've had a chance to say that of all the earthquakes we covered, an
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epicenter in mineral, virginia. >> reporter: no, kyra, and we may not be able to say that for the rest of our lives. there are some concerns here, though, about possible aftershocks, there have been four of them since yesterday's earthquake. officials here at the north anna power plant still assessing some minor damage. they did make progress overnight in restoring power to this facility, that means the cooling systems for the reactor and spent fuel rods can work without a hitch now, but the two main reactors are still shut down as they run through the security checks. just one part of how an entire region is recovering from this earthquake. >> may be an aftershock, but you're allowed to go back in the building at this time. >> reporter: to millions of people on the east coast, this was the big one. it's the strongest quake to hit the virginia area since 1897, a 5.8, rattling nerves and shaking
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buildings in the nation's capitol. >> i really truly thought it was some kind of bomb, i never felt nothing like that in washington. >> i was on the bus, bus did a shimmy. >> reporter: the quake was centered in mineral, virginia, but could be felt all the way in martha's vineyard, where the president is on vacation. shaking was felt in more than a dozen states in all, even into canada. nbc's cameras focussed on the white house, caught the shaking as it happened. some of the masonry of the national cathedral fell off. washington monument will be closed indefinitely to keep visitors safe. many government buildings were evacuated, but no major damage was reported. further north in new york city, people ran from skyscrapers, down flights of stairs as they swayed. near the epicenter of the quake,
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the north anna power station, the earthquake triggering an automatic shutdown there, diesel generators kicked in, but a plant executive wanted us to know everything is under control. what do you want to say to the public? >> the plant is safe, the operators responded well, both units are shut down, maintained in a safe shut down commission. there was no release of radioactivity. >> reporter: and we're told those two reactors will be shut down at least another day, but the 450,000 customers of this plant were not affected. they are getting their power from else where on the power grid as they have since the earthquake yesterday, kyra. >> brian, thanks, if an earthquake isn't enough, we're tracking hurricane irene. now considered a major storm, it reaches category three status. jackie joins us next.
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well, category three and gaining more steam. hurricane irene now barrelling through the southern bahama island chain. here's new video we got from affiliate wsvn out of miami. north of the storm right now, though, they are getting ready ahead of it. there are americans also living along the east coast, they are running out to the hardware stores trying to stack up on supplies, and then in washington, d.c., there's a concern of irene's possible arrival, and it could impact the scheduled dedication of the martin luther king memorial that's supposed to happen sunday morning. we hope to be bringing you live coverage from that this weekend.
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meteorologist jacqui jeras is tracking it all for us, hoping that you can update us. some areas are getting a relief, others there should be more concern? >> yeah, we've been seeing the easterly shift over the last couple of days, and that trend continues right now, looks a little better for florida and a lot worse, actually, for the northeastern corner. irene is a category three storm, that makes it a major hurricane, that could bring a lot of devastation, we expect it through the southeastern chain of the islands right now, it's going to take all the way through the day tomorrow before we get beyond this. let's look at the big picture, it's anybody's ball game from the carolinas to the northeast coast, so everyone needs to be on high alert and be prepared for this. even if we get lucky, we still expect a big impact with heavy rains, strong, gusty winds, and power outages, so keep that in mind.
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kyra, you said last hour, you were asking me how long has it been since we've seen anything hit the northeast, new york, it's been 25 years for you when hurricane gloria hit. this shows you on average how often we see hurricanes making landfall, you can see anywhere between 13 and 50 years across parts of the northeast. >> jacqui, thanks. did president obama react quickly enough to the crisis in libya? ♪ [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee,
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all right, checking top stories now. fighting still raging on in parts of tripoli between libyan rebels and moammar gadhafi loyalists. as for gadhafi, his whereabouts are still unknown. lawyers for dominique strauss kahn say they are not worried about possible charges. and most successful basketball coach ever has early onset of dementia. the tennessee coach, pat summit, says she's going to keep coaching, though, dr. sanjay gupta is going to join us later
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in the hour to talk about her diagnosis. 30 seconds on the clock, playing today, maria cardona, patricia murphy, and dana loesch. how do you think this battle will impact foreign policy, maria? >> if you remember, kyra, he was also criticized for having gotten involved at all. once again, what this president did was get involved in the most thoughtful way by ensuring that we had strong alliances, by ensuring we had the cooperation of even the arab states that were in the region, and most importantly of all, ensuring it was the libyan people who were leading this effort to make sure their aspirations for freedom were at the core of this whole effort, and it will show that this is, in fact, a vindication
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that it is a lot easier and smarter to do it with an alliance and not going at it alone. >> dana? >> i agree with maria, somewhat, and i think this is a vindication. i think it's a vindication of the bush doctrine, for all intents and purposes, that's what was replicated here. i've had my criticisms about iraq and our length of stay in afghanistan and definitely my criticisms about why we've been involved in libya in the first place. so i think it's, you know, it's one thing -- i don't know, i find myself turning into a peace nick, i don't like that, i don't like reversing roles, why do people do this to me? so that's where i am. >> i'm sure that's the last thing president obama meant to do. i think it's actually a way to know how this is going to affect president obama. politically, in terms of foreign policy, libya is joining a growing list of where we see
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it's relatively easy to topple the government, but what comes in behind it is crucial. the president is going to have to do a lot behind the scenes and to make sure that does not become a breeding ground for terrorism. it's a very, very dangerous place already, it could get worse or could get better, i think the jury is still out about how it's going to affect the president. all right, question two, it's august, members of congress taking a break, but there's a new survey out from a bipartisan advocacy group that says 40% of house members are going to hold a town hall, something that's traditional for this time of year, so why do you think that is? wouldn't you think with everything going on in our economy they'd want to hear from their voters, dana? >> you would think. this is exactly what happened in the summer of 2009 when you had so few town halls held, finally when there was a town hall, citizens were upset because they were wondering why their
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congressional representatives didn't want to listen to them, it's obvious congress hasn't been listening to the people. 66% of the people, voting americans, supported cut, cap, and balance. democrats in the senate and our own president, so i think it's clear they just don't want to hear criticisms from the people. >> maria? >> first of all, the bush doctrine was completely go it alone, this was the opposite of that. >> no, it was not. no, it was not. >> on congress i will say -- i can't speak for republicans, but democrats are out there listening to voters and the will of the people. they are the ones trying to get solutions to our economic problems done in a balanced way, because the majority of americans understand that there needs to be balance, there needs to be a fair approach to how we understand our economic solutions, and it can't just be republicans protecting millionaires and billionaires. the middle class has got to have
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champions, here and that's the democrats. >> getting back to the question of town halls, members of congress, i think they are worried legitimately about their personal safety. i know this because i talk to their staffers, so if you have a big open forum, there is a legitimate concern, they also don't want to lose control of what happens. it's now so easy for somebody who disagrees with them to show up with a video camera to attack them, make them look bad, tape it and put it on youtube, but they are getting out there. they are not town halls, but they'll go to hospitals, churches, elementary schools, they are hearing from their constituents. they have to make that decision on their own. >> all right, ladies, 20 seconds each on this one. you know, the earthquake not only rattled our capital, but check out the political aftershocks on twitter. this first one, "dear mother nature, thanks for shutting down the federal government today." here's another one.
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"if all of d.c. leaves work at the same time, the u.s. experiences a brief economic recovery." "earthquake inflicted minimal damage on d.c. o congress can resume inflicting maximum damage on the rest of the country." here's my questions, ladies, what would your tweet have been? >> not to criticize here too much, but i wanted the president to get off the golf course when there was this relatively major event happening in d.c., all up and down the east coast, he stayed on the golf course, obama putts, washington crumbles. >> maria? >> well, since there really was no damage, i would actually have said something like glad obama not in washington, republicans would have found a way to blame earthquake on him. >> dana? >> i have to say to maria, bush doctrine, there were more allies in alliance with us than in libya. i have to correct her. but my tweet, i think maria's
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tweet was democrats are positive this earthquake originated from the bush faultline. >> you guys are harsh, harsh. >> good one. >> i hate to be tweeting among you ladies. i'm going to stay on your good side. thanks, guys. >> always, kyra. coming up, chaotic celebration in tripoli, libyan rebels showing off after capturing the gadhafi compound. s can go up when you're on the road to recovery. proper nutrition can help you get back on your feet. three out of four doctors recommend the ensure brand for extra nutrition. ensure clinical strength has revigor and thirteen grams of protein to protect, preserve, and promote muscle health. and immune balance to help support your immune system. ensure clinical strength... helping you to bounce back. ensure! nutrition in charge!
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all right, here's the latest from libya right now, a nato official is confirming to cnn that special forces from several countries are stepping up their operations, trying to help the rebels of the the troops are coming from britain, france, jordan, and qatar. it's a lot calmer now at the rebel-held gadhafi compound after loyalists came out with guns ablazing yesterday.
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incoming sniper fire awhile ago, mortar fire also being reported in that area, an as you may remember, it was our sara sidner that was with the libyan rebels for the celebration yesterday. >> reporter: celebratory gunfire going off, they feel very, very excited. very excited. we're going to go in a little bit further. if you look over here to the right, you are seeing the fire. some inside of gadhafi's compound. we're trying to go in to see. we are told that the whole place has been controlled by the rebels, and there are cars driving in and out easily, but there is still quite a bit of gunfire, that gunfire, celebratory gunfire. >> well, our sara sidner has moved from that compound to what
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is being called martyrs square now. sara, you are with us still, yes? there we go. can you hear me okay, sara? >> reporter: yes, i can tell hear you. >> i know it's hard amid all the celebratory gunfire. we've been talking about every 45 minutes, checking in with you. what's it like at the square now, are you seeing more people leaving tripoli, more people coming on to the streets, give us a feel? >> reporter: we're seeing more people come to the square, we're hearing more blasts and gunfire at the square. we are seeing a few more residents. what we saw was a lovely scene of a resident getting out of his truck and giving water, cold water to people here. it is still ramadan, which means people are fasting until the sun sets, and then they begin to have their very first meal of the day, they are bringing that around. they've come to us to offer what
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they have. the stores are generally closed, but now we're seeing that maybe one or two stores has opened up, people, obviously, those stores supporting the rebels and trying to be here for the residents who have come out on to the streets. but again, the gunfire is again getting pretty rowdy. i like the way you put it, kyra, you said the rebels were showing off, and that's exactly what they are doing. they are showing their mite. they are showing their excitement. they are showing that the gadhafi forces do not have any control of this city, but they are also putting residents in danger by blasting off these massive, massive guns. some of them were taken from a tank, for example. some of them were taken from a helicopter and reconfigured to work on the trucks, so they put these weapons together and the young men are blowing them all over the place.
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in the neighborhood we were in yesterday next to bab al-aziziya, i saw something that was heartening. some of the older residents of that neighborhood came out, there were children there, women there. and when people started shooting in the area, we saw these older gentlemen going around and saying please, stop. our children are here, let us celebrate and enjoy together, but let nobody get hurt. that was very heartening for us to see, because we do worry about ourselves and the children and the families and the rebels and whoever is in the area, because this is -- clearly, these bullets have to come down somewhere, and so that is happening in some neighborhoods as well, kyra. >> sara, if you don't mind, i asked you to do this last hour, if we could get a wider picture and sort of describe to us what we know as green square now being referred to as martyr square, where exactly is the celebratory gunfire? sounds next to you, but you were saying it's a bit from where you
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are? >> reporter: just a bit. i mean, i could walk over and talk to these folks. what's happening -- i'm going to let the camera pan just a bit. what's happening is a lot of shooting going on this side, but the reason why it sounds so close, my cameraman is trying to get you a shot. look at this truck that's going to pass by. that's going around the square, blowing off rounds, there's another truck with about five men in it all holding ak-47s, they are blowing off rounds. rifles, they are blowing off rounds. there are cars -- if you'll notice in just a few seconds, you'll see a car filled with children sitting on the outside holding the flag. here it comes here. trying to get you a shot, a flag, children holding the flag on the outside, sitting up on the car, so there are some of the residents we've been telling you about, but i mean look, they are not protected. they are leaning out of the car. there are guns all around, and i
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think people just generally have the sense they want to celebrate. they are not thinking about some of the issues with this gunfire. they want to be here, because they want to say they are no longer silenced by the gadhafi regime, kyra. >> these are powerful pictures, sara, obviously, and just getting to see this firsthand with you, it leads me to the next question of, you know, do you get a sense that it's kind of -- i mean, you mentioned yes, it's not safe, because gunfire is gunfire, but does it seem like anybody is in control, anybody monitoring checkpoints like what we saw yesterday? you know, give us a feel for the security situation and who's really in charge there where you are. >> reporter: those are really good questions, kyra, and it is the rebels that really seem to be in charge of most of the neighborhoods now. we've driven around the city a bit, we've gone through some of the neighborhoods, there are
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areas they won't let us travel, they have cordoned the areas off, there are checkpoints throughout the city, there are areas where we're seeing cars with bullet holes in them that said look, that is from sniper fire, you cannot go down that road, but it is clear the rebels are becoming more and more in control of tripoli, of the capital, although we know -- >> sara, stay with me, matthew chance is calling in, as you know, he's been trapped inside the rixos hotel. matthew, are you with us, tell us everything you know. >> reporter: breaking news situation here. we have now left the compound of the rixos hotel. all of the 36 journalists that were kept inside, essentially against their will, in what we all considered all along to be a hostage crisis have now -- hostage situation rather, have now been allowed to go out. it's been a very complicated, a
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very frightening, a very, you know, emotional roller coaster the last five days, but we're sitting in vehicles of the international committee of the red cross, we managed to negotiate the red cross to get in through the checkpoints of the gadhafi loyalists, perhaps the only gadhafi loyalists checkpoint in tripoli. reports we've heard inside the hotel are to be believed, and we've got all the journalists into these four cars, plus a civilian car, and we're now driving out of the rixos, we're driving through the deserted street of tripoli to our freedom, essentially. it's been an absolutely -- absolute nightmare for all of us, there are journalists who have been as a result of this emotional release, the fact that we've got out of the hotel, crying, emotions are running very high. we went through a rebel
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checkpoint, the rebel checkpoint all along was just about 150 meters down the road from the rixos hotel. they hadn't approached the hotel presumably because they didn't want a big gunfight to take place where all those international journalists have been holed up over the course of the last five days. >> it's been awhile -- that's okay, matthew, you let me know if this is not safe to talk. you've finally been able to get out of this hotel. i want to ask you, were you ever threatened, were you told to say or not say anything? give us a feel for what was being said to you and also a feel for your safety. >> reporter: frankly, we've been -- we've been living in fear for the past five days, because we've been really being held against our will by these crazy gunmen who were in the lobby of the hotel wearing green
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b bandanas, waving gadhafi flags, they've been hostile towards us at times, they've often told us about how they think we're spies, nato spies, you know, set and bent on destroying libya. one of them shouted up to me yesterday, we corralled ourselves away from them because there was so much hostility. one of them shouted up to me yesterday, i suppose you're happy now, aren't you, now that libyans are killing libyans. gadhafi loyalists who were in control of that pocket of the rixos hotel really held the international media for some reason, responsible for this crisis in libya, so i can't tell you how pleased we all are and how relieved we all are and how relieved our families will all be that we've finally managed to get out of that place. >> and matthew, just to reiterate, you said that all the
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journalists were freed, so are you telling me that everybody is okay, everybody is alive, and everybody -- >> reporter: everybody is okay, there were no injuries, you know, perhaps some emotional scars, but apart from that, nothing visible. it's been an incredible couple of hours. we've been up all night, up all night for the past five nights, frankly, trying to go through every possible scenario, trying to negotiate our release and get out of this situation using whatever means. we were confronted with these guys in the lobby of the hotel who were basically the die hard gadhafi loyalists except for one, and he was always really nice to us, and he was a bit of an older guy, and, you know, i saw this incredible scene today. i don't know quite what happened, but some of our arab-speaking colleagues were speaking to him, convincing him history is being made around him, the world is changed
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outside the gates of the rixos hotel. he was following orders to keep us there, he didn't realize that or believe that tripoli has basically fallen, for the most part, to the rebels, so when he was convinced of that, he surrendered his guns, two of them surrendered their guns. those guns were disabled and cast aside, and, you know, the whole atmosphere became one of finally, finally, we think we're going to be able to move out, because previously to a few minutes ago, we've been asking every day, every hour, every minute almost, you know, in some capacity to get out of there, and we've always been told no, we're keeping you there for your safety, and it's not safe for you to go outside. you're not allowed to leave. every time somebody's tried to leave, there's been gun shots, there's been ferocious battles as well outside the rixos hotel, particularly because it's so close to gadhafi's main compound
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where there's been fierce clashes between the opposition fighters and the remnants of gadhafi's forces, but i tell you, in the end, you know, it seemed to us -- and i don't know whether this is an accurate fact or not, but it seemed to us that we were sitting, we were trapped on the last pocket of colonel gadhafi's control in tripoli, if not in the whole of libya, so it was a very, very frustrating experience, and again, we're immensely relieved, all of us, that we're out of there and driving, essentially driving to our freedom. >> we want to welcome our international viewers simulcasting now. >> just for our viewers joining us now, you'll remember over the past five days the story of the journalists and foreign nationals trapped at the rixos hotel, freed now.
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matthew, you mentioned these pro-gadhafi elements in the hotel, around the perimeter of the hotel, did they put up any kind of resistance? >> reporter: hello. >> yes, matthew, did those gunmen and the pro-gadhafi forces in and around the hotel put up any kind of resistance? >> reporter: well, they put up resistance to the rebels, they didn't let them come in, they didn't put up any resistance to us, because in the end -- originally, all along they've been stopping us from going out. but as i mentioned earlier, we managed, some of the arabic-speaking journalists managed to convince them the world had changed outside in the rest of tripoli is largely held now, as we know, by the tnc, the rebels, when they finally realized this, it's not clear whether it's because they didn't have the information or just
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couldn't after 42 years nearly of gadhafi's rule, comprehend the idea of a libya without him. but when they finally understood it and took it in and embraced it, at one point, an assault rifle was thrown across the room into the kitchens in the restaurant area, and the whole situation changed. all of the guards there, the two guards in the lobby of the hotel, gadhafi loyalists, right up until the end, right up until beyond the end, you could say. they basically came over to us and they said look, you know, we're not going to stop you from leaving anymore. all we have to do then was arrange some kind of transport out of the hotel, and thankfully the i.c.r.c., international committee of the red cross came up for us with four cars, we took a civilian vehicle as well to get the other journalists in, and we're now as we speak making our way to a safe location else where in the city. >> we don't want to, of course, discuss that location, we don't
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want to discuss where the journalists are headed, but matthew, what are the streets like around you as you drive through tripoli for the first time. the last few weeks you've been reporting inside a hotel essentially. >> reporter: i know, incredible. i didn't have a great visual picture of what tripoli would look like, but i'll tell you what it looks like now, the streets are pretty deserted, not much traffic on the roads or people on the roads, so there are a lot of tnc rebel checkpoints, we've been through at least three or four of them in the past five or ten minutes since we left the hotel, so it seems in this area of tripoli at least, you know, the -- certainly in control of the rebels. a lot of people are saying victory to us, there are some burned-out cars i can see by the sides of the roads. some barricades that have been built up around the area. there have been rebel colors
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painted on lamp posts in the center of traffic round about. the whole place is littered with a lot of refuse, but again, we're going to another checkpoint now, heavily-armed rebels checking the cars. this icrc car we're in now and waving us through. >> matthew, it's kyra again, question to you is how it was reporting as i was reporting, rebels saying that they were gaining more and more of tripoli -- oh, we lost him. matthew, did we lose the connection? okay, we did. this is pretty remarkable, you and i both, just looking at the last pictures we got from our matthew chance and the more than 30 other journalists that were trapped inside this hotel, one of the last places where gadhafi reporters were able to say hey, we have control, has now fallen. they have been released. >> look, kyra, it's stressful
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enough being in a hotel where you're constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, we've all been there, but something especially traumatizing about being there when fighting all around you, you can hear gunshots and explosions, i cannot imagine psychologically what these journalists and others -- they are not all journalists, some diplomats what they went through. >> just to let our viewers know who have not been watching this from the beginning. they were running out of food, they were running out of water, electricity was sporadic, we were talking to matthew and his batteries were dying, we had to let him go so he'd have some type of communication with us, to beef up the batteries once again. it was moments ago we got word that they negotiated, possibly negotiated, their release. we had no idea.
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>> then they had to arrange for basically their drive out of that hotel. you know, it's interesting, they were somewhere lost in no mad's land between being journalists and hostages. they could not leave but they were still phones in to us so they were able to give us a blow-by-blow account of being hostage. >> we were not saying hostage, we were saying trapped, we were not going with the fact -- we are not going to say that word hostage. but you heard what matthew said, as soon as they were released, that's what they felt like. >> it's interesting, you want to do your job and reporting on your own imprisonment the entire time, and that has to be extremely, extremely difficult. thankfully for those of our viewers joining us now in the u.s. and around the world who have been following the stories of our colleagues and friends trapped in the rixos, they are finally out, they are in red cross vehicles right now driving as free men and women through the streets of tripoli.
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>> matthew chance just calling into us, let's take another listen. >> matthew, you're on the air if you can hear us. >> i believe -- are we -- >> reporter: we've got all the journalists into these four cars, plus a civilian car, and we're now driving out of the rixos, we're driving through the deserted streets, i'd have to say, of tripoli to our freedom, essentially. it's been an absolutely -- it's been an absolute nightmare for all of us. there are journalists who have been, as a result of this emotional release, the fact that we've got out of the hotel, crying, emotions are running very high. we've been -- we've been living in fear for the past five days because we've been really being held against our will by these crazy gunmen who are in the lobby of our hotel wearing green bandanas, waving gadhafi


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