March 1st, 2010
11:09 AM ET

Morning Buzz: A race to find survivors

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/02/27/chile.quake/smlvid.chilequake.bridge.canal13.jpg width=300 height=169]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

An 8.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Chile early Saturday morning and this morning heavily populated parts of the country are still without water service and electricity. Reports of looting have raised fears about security in some areas. The nation’s hardest-hit major city, Concepcion, declared an overnight curfew. More than 700 people died as a result of the earthquake and the death count is expected to go up. The search for survivors continues and some 2 million people are now homeless.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Santiago tomorrow as apart of a previously planned five-day trip to Latin America. She’ll meet with Chile’s President and President-elect to survey the damage and determine how the U.S. can help.

The earthquake, undoubtedly, conjures not-so-distant memories about the destruction caused by the earthquake in Haiti six weeks ago. That earthquake killed more than 200,000 people, yet it wasn’t as powerful as the tremor in Chile. The difference in death tolls is due to geology and poor housing standards, according to geophysicists. Meanwhile, in Haiti, officials said eight people were killed and two are missing after recent heavy rain pounded the southwest and caused widespread flooding.

Democratic sources have told CNN that the general plan for the health care bill is that the House will now pass the version that the Senate passed last year with 60 votes. Meanwhile, negotiators in both chambers would agree to a separate package of changes to that specific legislation. The package would go before the Senate under reconciliation rules. On the Sunday political talk shows, Democratic and GOP leaders fought over budget reconciliation, the parliamentary procedure that could allow a vote in the Senate and circumvent a GOP filibuster. So what will this look like when all is said and done? We’ll dig deeper tonight.

A bill passed by the Utah House and Senate last week and waiting for the governor's signature will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances. The law is specifically designed to be punitive toward pregnant women, not those who might assist or cause an illegal abortion or unintended miscarriage. It doesn't apply to legal abortions but criminalizes any actions taken by women to induce a miscarriage or abortion outside of a doctor's care, with penalties including up to life in prison. Women could be legally responsible, therefore, for miscarriages caused by "reckless" behavior. So what is "reckless behavior" mean? Drink too much alcohol and have a miscarriage? Under the new law such actions could be cause for prosecution. If this law is signed, how will it be enforced?

President Obama got a checkup over the weekend and his doctor said he is “in excellent health.” Still, the doctor recommended the President change his eating habits to reduce his LDL cholesterol. He also noted that the president should keep up his efforts to stop smoking. How much is he smoking?

And apparently we’ll be seeing a little more of the Canadian paraphernalia in the White House in the upcoming days. The President lost a bet in support of the U.S. Olympic Hockey team. He now owes Canadian Prime Minister Harper a case of Molson Canadian beer. And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who also lost a bet, will have to wear a Team Canada jersey during an on-camera briefing at some point in the next two weeks.

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Denise Barlow

    Good morning Eliza, AC 360 and CNN.

    I was watching another news program and they highlighted a rescue. Thanks goodness there are worldwide teams out there willing to step and help those who need it. I was amazed the work the rescue teams did in Haiti and continue to be amazed that their efforts in Chile. These people are truly what I would call heros.

    March 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Isabel, Brazil •

    A weekend with pain and sorrow everywhere: Chile, Haiti and Europe, but another week begins, let's go ahead.

    I wonder what is happening to our world? And why are we so fragile?
    The parents of a friend lives in Santiango and they are well, but the apartment has many cracks and they're afraid to stay there. How many people they are in this situation and they do not know if the structures of buildings were shaken.

    Although Chile has an infrastructure able to cope with earthquakes, the damage and fear that is left after such an event are terrible.

    Eliza, I read that the disaster, according to seismologists, was predictable, then why was there no evacuation of people?

    And the rains in Haiti? The season has not even started and 8 people died. As the homeless, who are living in tents, how will they deal with the rain?
    What the government are doing about it? And international aid, what can they do?


    See you soon ...

    March 1, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    To push the health care bill through by any means possible, brushing aside the interest of the people, will be walking the plank for Obama even while results show his appearance for Reid in NV was a bust in changing public opinion. We understand, and the polls will show our disapproval like the smell of tar in a pot hole.

    March 1, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  4. Annie Kate

    Seems like there have been a lot of earthquakes in the last year – China last year, Haiti and Chile this year. And not small quakes either. If anything positive is taken away from these calamities I hope it is the assurance that people will help each other in times of need/catastrophe and that everyone needs to build their structures to strict earthquake codes – it might just save their lives later on.

    March 1, 2010 at 10:23 am |