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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  February 6, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm EST

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>> the people who formed this movement need a major political party. >> reporter: the movement's future is on the agenda at the tea party's first convention set this week. even with tea party favorite sarah palin headlining the convention, it's being boycotted by some tea party activists scoffing at the $539 admission fee. >> we declined to participate. >> reporter: it's clear the tea party is on a roll. where it rolls is anybody's guess. >> we'll have more from the tea party convention in a moment. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com a huge snowstorm is dumping snow up the east coast. president barack obama met with democrats in washington. he says he is not giving up on his health care initiative.
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this week a big event for the tea party movement. its first national convention. so who are members of the tea party, and what impact might they have on this election? joining us live from nashville is john avalon, columnist with the daily beast.com. let's get started with the make-up of the tea party. we saw in jim acosta's piece where people say it is made up of a lot of different loose groups and is a grassroots-formed type party. what does that mean? who are the members? what do they all represent? >> it is a wide-ranging group. i think the common ground is that they are fiscal conservatives. the tea party started last year in response to the bailout backlash, stimulus spending, a lot of anger about overspending that began under republicans and
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accelerated under democrats. i think what they are generally, they need to be understood as conservative populists. folks believe the republican party hasn't been conservative enough. that's the main theme throughout the movement. there is a side order that comes with that issue, which is that a lot of these folks, especially over the last summer got increasingly radicalized and affected with obama derangement syndrome. you see a lot of unhinged anger at president obama with other conservative movements. >> the movement has this commonality of being against the obama administration or is the real commonality we don't think the republicans are conservative enough? >> i think it's both things at the same time. it is a real anger and resistance at the obama
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administration, but it's also a real demand for a return to fiscal responsibility, fiscal conservatism. >> when it comes down to choosing a candidate of choice, more likely that is going to be a republican, not necessarily someone who simply touts being a tea party member, correct? >> absolutely. in fact, yesterday, the folks putting on this national convention said very specifically that they don't want to support a third party. they want to support conservative candidates in republican primaries. that is going to be controversial because there are many different groups in the third party movement. i think it does indicate the fact this is primarily a conservative populist movement designed to try to move the republican party further to the right, specifically on fiscal issues. >> if there are republicans who say i don't want to appreciate myself with the tea party, what is at the crux of their concern? >> i think it's a recognition that extremists are usually their own side's worst enemy.
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a lot of folks have come out with unhinged statements over the course of the tea party movements. the guys with obama and hitler communist signs are outer limits. they got a lot of press. you see that derangement syndrome floating around this movement. if it begins to blur with the base, you see the conservative populous having more influence with the republican party. there is a bit of faustan to the party. they could boil over and alienate independents. >> everyone is clamoring for the independents. they are believed to be the fastest growing portion of the voting public. so how or why -- i guess how, how might this tea party try to appeal to those independents, yet at the same time not be extremists, as you put it? >> that's the catch-22.
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independents are the largest and fastest growing segment. they tend to be fiscally conservative. the common ground is on demand for fiscal responsibility. fiscal conservatism. what alienates them is independents are angry at the polarization of the two parties. they think they are two hyperpartisan in washington. they would like to see a republican party that moves further to the right. the overlap opportunity is a return for fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility. if tea partyers want to broaden their appeal and leave the hyperpartisan anger at obama aside. if they can do that, that is an open question. >> this evening former alaska governor sarah palin is going to be keynote speaker. she says money she is taking for her speaking engagement fee is going toward the cause. is the tea party saying that her point of view on politics, her approach to politics is in
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concert with that of the tea party? >> no question among the crowds here. you see a lot of love for sarah palin. she is queen of the conservative populist. there is a lot of enthusiasm for her speech tonight and there is controversy around the speecher's fee. there is not populous about $100,000. that buys you a lot of tea. folks resent that speaking fee, but folks here that already paid are excited to hear what she says. the question for palin, does she preach to the choir or does she try to present a direction forward? that will be really the question of her attempt to be a leader of this movement. no question, she's got many of their support. can she turn that support into something constructive? >> john avalon the daily beast.com, thank you for your time from nashville. >> thank you. you don't have to be in nashville to get a seat inside. sarah palin's keynote address,
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cnn will have love coverage. the re's talk weather again. the snow keeps coming down on the nation's capital and washington isn't alone. a huge winter storm is blamed for traffic accidents, travel headaches and power outages from virginia into pennsylvania and from indiana to the east coast, as well. bonnie schneider is in the weather center where, wow, this has been a nasty winter all the way around, no matter what corner of the country you live. >> that's true. really, washington, d.c., has seen such a terrible winter. normally we don't get this much snow for the entire year. we had two big snowstorms in a couple of months' time. want to show you west virginia. it stopped snowing but i-reporters showing it what it looks like outside in their backyard. this is glennville, west virginia. gary collins sent this picture in. his neighbor said to send these onto i-report. we appreciate that.
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this is charles street, 6.25 inches. i bet they have more than that since this picture was taken. thank you for that i-report. as you can see on radar, heaviest snow is through philadelphia down through washington, d.c. certainly into maryland. that brings me to our next i-report from western maryland in and around the fredericksburg area. this is also a snowy street with trees falling down. look at the weight of that snow on the tree branches. incredible pictures taken from the backyard of allison cook, 19 years old. thank you for those pictures. that's why we have hundreds of thousands of people without power because the weight of the snow is wet, damp snow. as we look to show you what's going on in the d.c. area, you can see heavy snow bands pounding this part of the country. for philadelphia to d.c. into baltimore, we are still looking at several more inches of snow. it should start to shut off around 9:00 tonight. the thing to noticice that we a
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still going to see a few more inches of snow. look at the winds. in atlantic city, the winds are 40 miles per hour down in virginia beach around 30. gusts are stronger than that. a big gust of wind blows the snow drifts. that's why we'll see blowing and drifting snow and treacherous conditions throughout the night tonight and into tomorrow. >> that's right. the snow will be sticking around tomorrow. >> right. will be tough to shovel. >> that's the worst part. bonnie schneider, thank you. >> sure. on to southern california now. the problem there is rain. overnight showers caused a series of mud slides north of los angeles in an area saf yajed by wildfires last summer. cars damaged and streets closed. at least six homes had been damaged and other homes under mandatory evacuation orders. power outages hit 10,000 customers. so far there are no reports of injuries. the president says he is committed to his mission, despite the move aimed at
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derailing it. what he is telling democrats about health care reform. >> is the military to blame for turning an island paradise into a toxic cancer cluster? or a consumers digest best buy? how about all of the above? the eight passenger buick enclave. may the best car win. for all the moments that make every day special.
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then, you stand behind it. the 5-year, 100,000 mile transferable powertrain warranty, from buick. withoadside assistance and courtesy transportation, it's the best coverage in america. president obama had a busy day. he's focused on jobs, the economy and health care reform when he addressed the democratic national convention's winter
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meeting today. let's bring in suzanne malveaux who is now inside after braving the snow all day long. boy, this has been a busy day for you and the white house. particularly as it pertains to the president, how did he manage to get the democrats to work together instead of staying home? >> reporter: fred, we are dry, we are inside. this is how you normally see us in the briefing room, but we are going to brave it again and go outside to show you and our viewers what it's like to be here. obviously the at the white house in midst of all of this. the residence is behind us here. that's where the first family has been hunkering down for the day. this is the driveway leading up here. a lot of work has been done here. this is what we are dealing with this. this is more than two feet of snow here at the white house. there have been presidential snowplows as well as snow blowers. we've been calling them that. it's really the national park service doing an incredible job trying to get this stuff out of
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here and moving along for the motorcade. the president went to the dnc, their annual winter meeting to talk about some things, but mainly to buck up the party to tell them, look, there are some things we need to do legislatively. there are bills that we've got to put out there to get the job done for the american people, despite the fact there are some party members that are discouraged and some party members trying to distance themselves from the president's agenda because of the health care reform failure and some other frustrations, but, fred, it was like a campaign event. when you take a look and you take a listen at how this president is trying to really encourage and motivate the democratic party. >> for all the stories we heard, after all the campaigns we waged, after all the promises we made, this is our best chance to deliver change that the american people need. if we do that, if we speak to the hopes of the american people instead of their fears, if we
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inspire them instead of divide them, if we respond to their challenges with the same sense of urgency they feel in their own lives, we are not just going to win elections, elections will take care of themselves, we will once again be the party that turns around the economy and moves this country forward and secures the american dream for another generation. >> reporter: specifically, the president was talking about trying to get a bipartisan jobs bill passed in short order, if you will, by monday. at least have the senate introduce that particular legislation. obviously, it's going to take a lot of work, heavy lifting. clearly democrats and republicans working together. of course, getting back from their home states as well. getting through some of this winter wonderland, this snow back into washington to get business done. >> while the president is underscoring the message of working together, republicans not far away in nashville, tennessee, there is this tea
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party convention. i wonder if the white house has anything to say about that movement and how it might be impacting upcoming elections, which is what the take party is expressing will happen? >> reporter: there certainly is a lot of concern about two groups, two particular groups. while the president talks about he wants to win over some republicans, he is concerned about the fiscally conservative democrats, some facing tough re-election battles, trying to distance themselves from the president. they don't know if they can support his agenda. also the independents. if you look at the latest polls, he is starting to lose the support of the independents. those are key groups that allowed him to win and seize the presidency. he is trying to comfort them and reach out to them. that's why you're seeing some of the ideas he has been introducing has been fiscally conservative. he's been talking about tax credits for small businesses, loans for small businesses, tax cuts for the american people, those types of things. they are looking at the tea
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party group saying those are critics, those are folks saying let's get physically conservative. i don't think they are necessarily trying to win them over in large part, but they are addressing some of those concerns and looking at some of those other groups closer to the administration. >> you mentioned the national park service is getting credit for clearing out the roadways there to make sure the president can come and go. when he went to that democratic winter meeting, it meant still putting the motorcade in use, correct? how did they do that? >> reporter: this is one of the scary moments we saw today. the motorcade not immune to what is happening out here with these snowy conditions. this is back from the event back to the white house, where a tree branch that was overtaken by heavy snow snapped, fell on to one of the vehicles in the motorcade. it was not the president's vehicle, fred, but it was a
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vehicle, the press jumped out of this vehicle. they got that branch out of the way and were able to continue on. the president was in a couple of vehicles ahead of that. clearly, it was a scary moment and just goes to show even with the presidential motorcade and all the armored vehicles and best preparations, there are still dangerous conditions out here. >> scary moment because it meant a separation of the vehicles which have to stay within close proximity by so many feet, inches, et cetera, when moon the move. >> reporter: absolutely. fortunately, it was close to the white house. it was close to the south lawn. they were pulling in between the white house and treasury department. if you know the area, pretty close to where we are here. the president was able to travel ahead of the rest of the vehicles, got in safely. everybody was okay. certainly a scary moment there. >> very good. suzanne malveaux, thanks very much. get inside. hopefully they have hot cocoa waiting for you. >> reporter: we are waiting for the obamas to invite us for hot
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cocoa. we are hoping they are watching this report. >> yeah. >> reporter: we've been here all day. come on. >> come on, right. thank you. it is the tape you'll be telling your friends about tomorrow, the latest on the video going viral.
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segment called "did you hear?" it highlights the most provocative and telling moments. intelligence chiefs appeared before a senate committee to talk about another threat of a terror attack on the u.s. >> what is the likelihood of another terrorist attempted attack on the u.s. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low? director blair? >> an attempted attack, the priority is certain, i would say. >> mr. panetta? >> i agree with that. >> mr. mueller? >> agree. >> general burgen? >> agree. >> mr. dinger? >> they all agree. big chances of an attempted attack within three to six months. viewers are already weighing in on this issue.
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a look at our top stories right now. parts of the eastern seaboard are at a standstill today as snow pounds the mid-atlantic states. some areas can see two feet or more. emergency crews are trying to clear the roads and restore power to hundreds of thousands of people. as long as the snow keeps falling, it's going to be a mess out there. toyota is promising a fix for its latest car glitch. potentially faulty brakes on its prius hybrids. it blames the problem on a software bug. the troubled automaker says it has taken care of fixing vehicles on its production line but needs to come up with an action plan for the prius vehicles already on the road. that could come next week. iran is making missiles that can shoot down helicopters and tanks and pierce armor plating, according to its defense minister. it opened two munition production plants today and hopes to beef up its ground and air defense by producing massive modern arms. it comes amid the ongoing
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dispute with the international community over its nuclear program. they are the most memorable images on the web. josh levs checks out the videos going viral this week. >> reporter: we are starting off the day with this stunt you just have to see. look here. that dot in the middle of the screen is a guy who is about to jump off that cliff. he is holding on to a swing. look at this. he is flying, he is flying. he is not attached to anything. boom, parachute. this is from the youtube channel lucky chance. in this video they piped in music. earlier on in the video you hear the guy saying how he is feeling about what he is about to do. >> lots of variables. i hope everything goes okay. all right.
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>> reporter: let's skip ahead one more time where that big jump comes. here it is. watch that one more time. you can see him swing. you see him let go and just go free falling way up in the air, not attached to anything. wow. no wonder so many people online are checking this out. you'll be able to see this link and all the links on my facebook page. here is something else you don't see coming and probably have never seen before. this guy is going to play a carrot as a musical instrument. ♪ >> reporter: no joke. turns out he specializes in this kind of thing. he shows you in his video how he
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makes them. making sweet music there. i don't know about you, but any time i see a guy play a carrot, makes me want to see flying robot penguins. that's what we have for you here. watch this for a second. these are from a company called festo. these things reply autonomously. these air penguins have navigation and communication that help them explore the area around them and learn it, either on their own or within fixed rules. this is so wild. i was e-mailing with the company. they talk about practical applications with this technology. a few they mentioned, rehabilitation, inspection dangerous environment, helping
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move things for various industries. all sorts of possibilities for the kind of technology from those playing robot penguins. if that creeped you out a little, not to worry. now it's time for the weekly relaxation video we promise you. some call it our moment of zen, i call it the better than ambien file. it's from the magictimelapse.ch. check this out. ♪ i believe this is from scotland. they say the music is like chris smith. they follow over long blocks of time. makes you want to take a deep breath and relax. >> reporter: we don't want you to sleep. think of this as an energy
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pick-up from someone playing the piano in a way you've never seen before. look at this. ♪ >> reporter: upside down and backwards. can you do that? let us know. you can send links to your favorite viral vids.
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an island paradise turned toxic where thousands have cancer and crippling disease.
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the people who live there blamed the u.s. military because for decades it used part of the island for weapons testing. the military says there is no link. it happens on the island of vieques. ab abbiboudreau has this story. >> reporter: nearly 40 years ago on this tiny remote american island of vieques, off the coast of puerto rico, a young u.s. marine was stationed as a security guard. >> i arrive on the island the 3rd of july 1970. i was 17.50. >> reporter: at age 57 this is the sergeant now. he's had colon cancer twice. he's nearly blind and needs an oxygen tank. he has lou gehrig's disease, crippling back problems, and sometimes needs a wheelchair. >> this is where we lived.
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this is the actual camp site. >> reporter: the sergeant says he's been sick ever since he was stationed on the island. during that period of time did you ever think something is really wrong with this picture? >> yeah, sure. all the time. all the time. i used to get sick. i used to get sick. i go to the fire range and sometimes i would start bleeding automatically from my nose. my god, why am i bleeding? i come back and maybe i'm vomiting now. i used to get diarrhea, pains in my stomach all the time. headaches. tremendous headaches. my vision. >> reporter: what was over there? today this decorated former marine is the star witness in a multibillion dollar lawsuit. more than 7,000 residents of this caribbean island, about 75% of the people here, are suing the u.s. government. they say what the u.s. military did here made them sick. for nearly six decades,
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beginning right after world war ii, the american island was one of the largest firing ranges and weapons testing sites. can you give us a detailed picture of what it was like when they would use this island as a training ground? >> inside the base, you would feel the ground. you can hear the concussions. you could feel it. if you're on the range, you could feel it in your chest. it would rain, actually rain bombs. and this would go on seven days a week. >> the people need the truth to understand what is happening to their bodies. >> reporter: john eaves is the attorney in the lawsuit. >> we don't believe that the military has fully come clean with all the chemicals and the agents that have been used on this island. using uranium was denied, then admitted. >> reporter: after years of
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controversy and protest, the navy left the island in 2003. today, much of the base is demolished and what's left, largely overgrown. >> in my experience dealing with hazardous sites and toxic substances, this is likely to be one of the most contaminated sites in the world. >> reporter: dr. john largo studies the effects of toxic exposure on human health. he believes people are sick because of the bombing range. >> this contamination range is because of the long time of the bombing. many compounds are released, flame retardants, fuels and many were released in great intensity. >> reporter: these images recorded five years ago by university of georgia scientists show the former bombing range and surrounding waters strewn with unexploded ordinants.
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many of those bombs continue to corrode leechi inin inin ining . the navy identified thousands of munitions and set about blowing them up. islanders fear more toxic chemicals will be released. the u.s. government's response is to claim sovereign immunity that residents have no right to sue the government. and the government also disputes that the navy's activities made islanders ill. citing a 2003 government study that found no link. do you think this island made you sick? >> of course it did. i got sick here on the island. my bones hurt, respiratory problems, vomiting, intestinal
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disorders. >> do you swear to testify the truth and nothing but the truth? >> reporter: the sergeant is not one of the plaintiffs but was questioned for his sworn deposition. he testified the weapons included chemical insecticides, depleted uranium, napalm and agent orange. >> we used to store agent orange in the hazardous material area. it was used in vieques as a defense line. >> reporter: the military has never acknowledged a link between sergeahis illnesses and time at vieques. >> this is american territory. the people that live here are americans. how do you do something in your own backyard and you hurt someone, you have to take care
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of that person. the government is just not doing anything about it. >> cnn asked the u.s. justice department and navy for comment, but neither wanted to discuss isla islanders' lawsuit with cnn. the story of a woman whose two daughters have cancer. her 16 1/2-year-old had half of her stomach removed and the 14-year-old has bone cancer, but the military says it is not to blame. our special investigations, poisoned paradise continues.
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checking our top stories right now, a blizzard is battering the mid-atlantic states and emergency crews are struggling to keep up. heavy wet snow is downing trees and power lines making travel difficult. some areas could see more than two feet of snow. president barack obama defended his party's efforts to shore up the battered economy. he urged fellow democrats to stay steady and focused. he also said he isn't giving up the fight on health care reform. mr. obama spoke at the democratic national party's winter meeting in washington today. >> nasa cleared the space
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shuttle "endeavour" for lift-off. it will deliver a new room and observation deck to the international space station. cnn will bring that to you live. before the break, we showed you cnn special investigations unit report into the island paradise where more than 7,000 americans are suing the government. they claim decades of military weapons tests on their island made them sick with dancer and other serious illnesses. the government, u.s. government, denies any link. abbie boudreau went to the island of vieques of puerto rico. >> reporter: after work every
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day, nanette rosa brings her two daughters to feed the horses. it is their favorite part of the day. at the time they don't think about pain. >> it's very difficult for my mom to have two daughters with cancer. sometimes we both get sick at the same time and she don't have anyone there to help her. it really affects her. >> reporter: 16-year-old coral is the eldest of her two daughters and both battle cancer. coral was diagnosed with neuro bla blastoma, a cancer for young children. >> she had removed half of her stomach and her intestines. >> reporter: nearly six decades, the u.s. military used much of the vieques island as a bombing range. now about 3/4 of the island's
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residents, including coral and her sister ina, are part of a lawsuit that claims the bombing range made them sick. how do you feel right now? >> sometimes i feel sad because, you know, everybody calls me plastic intestines. they say you have plastic belly. i tell them, you know what, if you were in this condition, how would you feel? >> reporter: coral showed us what she lives with every day. >> you can see how i feel when everybody teases me. >> reporter: ina is coral's 14-year-old sister. when she was 7, a large tumor was found in her mouth. >> reporter: what happened? can you show me what happened? >> it started with a swollen part. it was very swollen. it looks like if there was a big bowl of gum in my mouth or a big lollipop. i started having pains. the only thing that came out was
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blood. >> reporter: ina was diagnosed with a bone cancer. >> you cannot walk down the street on this island without counting every house and knowing two or three people on the street that have cancer or have had cancer or died of cancer. >> reporter: john eaves jr represents the islanders in a law against the federal government. he's taken more than 1,300 hair samples from residents looking for heavy metals. >> these hair samples, i believe, are the strongest proof that the contaminants, the things in the bombs, are now in the people. >> reporter: some show readouts of toxic elements that are literally right off the charts. we drove to the other side of this caribbean island to find one of the family's tested, and their daughter. we ended up finding tash.
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we want to talk to her family and see how she is feeling. inside her parents told us she had been very sick. they fear she may get sick again. >> she was in chemotherapy. she started to get dark spots around the legs. she was tired. she don't have a good grip. >> reporter: so you weren't surprised at all that this child did suffer an illness? >> no. i wasn't surprised at all that this child had some problems. the father talked about the neurological, hands, neurological damage, that is extensive throughout the island. i see it many times over. we hope this child will not have cancer in the future, but we don't know. >> by far the sickest population i've ever worked with.
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these people are very sick, very early, and dying earlier. so something is happening there. >> reporter: dr. carmen ortiz is a harvard trained physician. >> 30% higher of cancer, 95% higher of liver diseases. >> reporter: in 2003, the centers for disease control and prevention found no link between the navy's contamination and the sicknesses suffered by the islanders, but now the cdc plans to restudy the issue after many scientists raised strong complaints. in response to the islanders' lawsuit, the u.s. government is invoking southern immunity, claiming the islanders do not have the right to sue the government, and that there is no
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proof the navy's activities caused illnesses. >> there's a lot of people here in the hospital dying of cancer. i have my little cousin that died of cancer. i have my sister that has cancer. my boyfriend's mom died of cancer. >> it's hard. it's hard. and what i'm going through is not easy. >> reporter: your daughters told me sometimes they don't tell you exactly how they're feeling if they are not feeling well because they don't want to worry you. >> yes because i'm the type of mother that, i cry so much. it's too much pain. i have to hold up because of them. i have to hold up because they need me, but then i don't know if tomorrow i'm going to have
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th them. i hope when i wake up i'm going to see them again. >> cnn asked the u.s. department of justice and the u.s. navy for comment but neither wanted to discuss islanders' lawsuit with cnn. they thought they might be coming home, but a group of ten american missionaries ended up in a haitian jail.
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>> reporter: the soccer field built for kids is a home for hundreds. >> it's really something. we were already in the hole. now we are much deeper in the hole. >> reporter: duvall was a cnn hero in 2007. he founded a soccer training center called athletics of haiti giving kids from the poorest neighborhoods in port-au-prince an opportunity to get off the streets, play a sport and get a meal. >> the kids never miss breakfast. they are disciplined enough to keep focused on something. >> reporter: that program is now a lifesaver. many families of the children who played soccer for bobby have moved onto the field with nowhere to go. >> we tried to just keep it clean. give them a little bit of -- you
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know, set up bathrooms, some water. and give them care. that's all. understanding. so they are safe here. >> reporter: safe and shelters. duvall provided what tents he had. those without them have gotten more creative. >> reporter: are these goal posts here? >> goal posts. >> reporter: someone made a little home out of goal posts. some kids play soccer to pass the time. families are making do the best they can. >> save and serve. >> reporter: that's the purpose now. >> save as many as you can and serve as much as you can. that's it. >> reporter: an estimated three million survivors of the haiti earthquake are in need of food, water and medical supplies. for information on how to help visit cnn.com/heroes. even in the winter you can usually see weekend tourists taking in the sites of washington, d.c. not today. we'll have a report from a nearly empty national mall.
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from parts of the midwest to the mid-atlantic states a large part of the east is covered in white today. washington, d.c. is coping with nearly two feet of snow and reynolds wolf has a report from the national mall. >> reporter: we still have heavy snow in the nation's capital. you can see the silhouette of the capitol behind me. snow coming down hides it. we won't try to show you the washington monument. that's been obscured by snow for a couple of days. it's been very deep in places. in fact, i'd say 20 inches here. this is deceiving. it looks like the pavement. it's not. that's just compacted snow. people have been walking across this. if you were to dig, maybe a foot or so beneath this you would find the sidewalk. i'm going to step around here. you can see how deep it is when you get off the

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