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Active Duty Members Become U.S. Citizens; Mitt Romney Campaigns in News Hampshire; More Americans Travel Due to Low Gas Prices; Scientists Believe Higgs Bosom, God Particle, Found; Investigation Into Charities; Fourth of July Celebrations
Aired July 4, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": What better day to become a United States citizen and who better than men and women already wearing this country's uniform. We are live right now at the White House where the president is presiding over the naturalization ceremonies for 25 active duty members of the Army, Air Force, and Marines. They come from 17 countries.
A lot of those events taking place with members of the president's cabinet across America. Let's listen to the president.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We say it so often we sometimes forget what it means. We are a nation of immigrants. Unless you are one of first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else, whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or across the Rio Grande.
Immigrants signed their names to our Declaration and helped win our independence. Immigrants helped lay the railroads and build our cities, calloused hand by calloused hand. Immigrants took up arms to preserve our union, to defeat fascism, and to win a cold war. Immigrants and their descendants helped pioneer new industries and helped fuel our information age, from Google to the iPhone.
So the story of immigrants in America isn't a story of them. It's a story of us. It's who we are. And now all of you get to write the next chapter. Each of you traveled your own path to this moment. From Cameroon and the Philippines, Russia, and Palau, and places in- between.
Some of you came here as children, brought by parents who dreamed of giving you the opportunities that they had never had. Others of you came as adults, finding your way in a new country, and a new culture, and a new language.
All of you did something profound. You chose to serve. You put on the uniform of a country that was not yet fully your own in a time of war. Some of you deployed into harm's way. You displayed the values that we celebrate every Fourth of July, duty, responsibility, and patriotism. We salute a husband and father originally from Mexico now a United States Marine, joined today by his wife, Sylvia and daughter Juliet. Becoming a citizen, he says, is another step in the right direction for my family. So today we congratulate Francisco Ballesteros de la Rosa. Where's Francisco?
We salute a young woman from El Salvador who came when she was just six, grew up in America, who says she always had a desire to serve and who dreams of become an army medic, so we congratulate Luisa Childers. Luisa?
We salute a young man from Nigeria who came here as a child. I left Nigeria, he says, with the dream that we all have, a destiny in life and we're all born with the resources to make a difference. We are confident he will make a difference. We congratulate Oluwatosin Akinduro.
We salute a young man from Bolivia who came to America, enlisted in our military and has volunteered to help care for our veterans. He's becoming a citizen, he says, to be a part of the freedom that everybody is looking for and so we congratulate Javier Beltran.
It's taken these men and women, these Americans, years, even decades, to realize their dream. And this, too, reminds us of a lesson of the Fourth. On that July day, our Founders declared independence, but they only declared it. It would take another seven years to win the war, 15 years to forge a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, nearly 90 years and a great civil war to abolish slavery, nearly 150 years for women to win the right to vote, nearly 190 years to enshrine voting rights.
And even now we're still perfecting our union, still extending the promise of America. And that includes making sure the American dream endures for all those like these men and women who are willing to work hard, play by the rules, and meet their responsibilities.
For just as we remain a nation of laws, we have to remain a nation of immigrants. That's why, as another step forward, we're lifting the shadow of deportation from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children. It's why we still need a DREAM Act to keep talented young people who want to contribute to our society and serve our country. It's why we need -- why America's success demands comprehensive immigration reform.
Because the lesson of these 236 years is clear. Immigration make America stronger, immigration makes us more prosperous and immigration positions America to lead in the 21st century and these young men and women are testaments to that.
No other nation in the world welcomes so many new arrivals. No other nation constantly renews its, refreshes itself with the hopes and the drive and the optimism and the dynamism of each new generation of immigrants. You are all one of the reasons that America is exceptional. You're one of the reasons why, even after two centuries, America is always young, always looking to the future, always confident that our greatest days are still to come. So to all of you, I want to wish you the happiest Fourth of July. God bless you all, God bless our men and women in uniform and your families, and God bless the United States of America.
(END LIVE FEED)
PHILLIPS: You heard it right there from the president. You fought for a country that was not yet your own. Well, now, it is. 25 active duty members of the Army, Air Force, and Marines that come from 17 different countries are now U.S. citizens. Happy Fourth of July.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
OBAMA: And with that, I want you to join ...
MASTER SERGEANT MIKE LEVINE, U.S. ARMY: Hi. I'm Master Sergeant Mike Levine deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, and with U.S. Army Fifth Corps at the ISAF Joint Command.
I want to say happy Fourth of July to my family back in Cobleskill, New York. Mom and Dad, my brother Matt and sister-in-law Erin, their new baby Evelyn, happy Fourth of July.
PHILLIPS: Well, just a quick note for those of you heading out the door, you can continue to watch from your mobile phone or from your desktop. All you have to do is go to CNN.com/TV.
While the president is in D.C., the presumptive GOP nominee is campaigning in New Hampshire. That's one of Mitt Romney's adopted home states, by the way, and he's attending a parade there.
That's where Dana Bash is. She's in Wolfeboro. Dana, I understand he's actually going to work the parade route with a potential vice presidential running mate.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kelly Ayotte, who is the senator from the state of New Hampshire.
I want to show you what they're actually seeing and what we're seeing. Right down here is where they're coming. We're going to see them coming up probably in about 20 minutes or so.
But just check this out, Kyra. I mean, how Americana is this? The corner store, then you have the country store, the lemonade stand and there have been float after float after float of the locals here just having a great time.
We have some of our friends here who are locals, too young to vote, but they've been keeping us company here along the parade route and this is going to be -- this is obviously, you know, kind of a classic scene not just for Americans but also for politicians to do.
And it just so happens that, as you said, this is one of Mitt Romney's adopted states. He's been here all week. This is the only time we're going to see him in public and it's lucky for him because this is an important state, politically, a very important state, politically. We are going to hear from him later after he comes to the end of this parade route.
And I just wanted you to see a picture. We e-mailed this in. This is where he's going have his remarks, in front of a truck, a pickup truck. So the stagecraft is Americana for America's birthday and the Romney campaign says this is actually his own pickup truck, so he's just a regular American guy on America's birthday.
PHILLIPS: All right, the question is, is he going to stop in on that lemonade stand and make that either young gal or young boy's entire career, right?
BASH: Of course. Of course, you have to do it.
PHILLIPS: Here's my question. Is he going to talk to reporters? He's sort of steered away from you guys recently. What's your sense?
BASH: He is going to talk to reporters. He's going to make remarks in front of that pickup truck that his campaign says is his own. Whether or not he's going to take questions, that's a different story.
He has been, you know, really out of the scene, if you will, all week long. He's been spending it with his family, his five kids, his18 grandchildren. There are 30 Romneys in all who have been here spending the week on vacation, so this is going to be sort of his one shot of getting in the news cycle.
So he definitely has his message. We have our questions. We're going to try to get them in. Unclear if he's going to answer them.
PHILLIPS: Well, it looks like when it comes to this state, things are definitely going to come down to the wire. You mentioned the senator right there before we started talking.
What do you think? Could that -- what kind of impact could that make as he's going to be side by side with Romney as the parade begins?
BASH: You know, certainly when people have talked about whether or not there is or should be a woman to be considered for Mitt Romney's running mate, Kelly Ayotte has been out there, in terms of a name.
But she's new on the national scene. She's a freshman senator and I think by all accounts of what Mitt Romney is looking for given everything that happened four years ago is somebody with a little bit more experience.
Having said that, there's no question that she's popular. She's an up-and-comer among the Republican field and the electorate and people are going to be watching her very closely, but there are also other potential Republican vice-presidential running mates who are going to be in the state, oddly enough. One is Rob Portman, who has a lot of experience. He's the senator from Ohio. He's going to be here in New Hampshire on Saturday and they're not saying whether or not he's going to have a private meeting at that compound with Mitt Romney, but you never know.
PHILLIPS: Interesting. All right, I think we would like to hear probably from the senator, as well. I know you're going to go after Mitt Romney with some questions. It would be interesting to see what the senator has to say about a possible v.p.-position there.
Dana Bash, we'll keep checking in with you. I see the parade is getting started. Be careful. Those trucking are getting pretty close to you. Dana Bash there on the trail in New Hampshire. Dana, thanks.
PHILLIPS: Well, Yasser Arafat made headlines everywhere he went and, eight years after his death, there's a new one. The Palestinian icon's clothes and toothbrush contain an unexplained amount of the highly radioactive element polonium-210.
CNN's Elise Labott joining me now from Jerusalem with the details. So, Elise, who actually tested Arafat's effects and why now?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, it was a Swiss institute that does tests on chemical agents and it was done for the network Al Jazeera that was working on an investigative documentary on his death.
And this institute said that both the network and Yasser Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, asked them to do these tests and they didn't find any traces of any type of traditional poisoning, but then they asked to do some tests on radioactive material and they found this polonium- 210.
And they found just traces of it, but abnormal levels that wouldn't normally be found in someone's human remains.
PHILLIPS: All right, so, what exactly did his medical records show? Did he ever lose his hair?
LABOTT: Well, there were a lot of symptoms. His eyes were getting really big. He was very weak. He was very jaundiced. He was some losing hair, but it wasn't what the medical researchers found that his medical records were not consistent with symptoms that would be related to polonium-210 poisoning.
So the evidence really isn't conclusive that he was poisoned, only that they found these abnormal traces and, obviously, it's racing a lot of questions.
PHILLIPS: All also there was ...
LABOTT: Let's listen to what ...
PHILLIPS: Oh, go ahead. Go ahead, Elise.
LABOTT: Oh, that's OK. Sorry about that. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian PLO executive committee talked with us just a bit earlier and she told us that it really raised -- confirmed suspicions that the PLO had all along that Yasser Arafat did not die of natural causes. Let's listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANAN ASHRAWI, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, PLO: The suspicion that he was killed, that he was deliberately murdered has been there all along and most believe that and I personally believed it because I was with him. I saw him. I saw the transformation and it certainly wasn't natural.
And I talked to his doctors and they gave us several options and among them, they said, they couldn't rule out the most logical option was some sort of toxin or poison that was externally induced.
But we didn't have any kind of thread, any kind of evidence. This report in many ways tells us our suspicions are founded, that there is sufficient evidence to say that he was killed, he was assassinated, using polonium.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: And, Kyra, what Hanan Ashrawi told us and also some Palestinians we were speaking to on the streets of Ramallah today, really pointing the finger at Israel, saying that the Palestinians did not have any access to an agent of this type. It's an agent used in nuclear research and nuclear material, nuclear weapons.
And they're saying that only Israel, who had a beef with Yasser Arafat, who clearly had spoken in the past about wanting to get rid of him, was responsible.
And the Israelis are saying, listen, this is baseless, absurd accusations, and the PLO can clear this up by just releasing these medical records that we've been talking about. They've been closed since his death eight years ago, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, we've been talking about the fact that his body might be exhumed now. His widow, obviously, has been pushing for more answers. What do you think? Do you think she'll agree to have that done?
LABOTT: Well, we've contacted her. She's kind of traveling right now. We expect to hear from her in the coming days. She says she hasn't offered an official request to exhume his body, but plans to do so.
And the Palestinian authority is telling us there's no reason why this shouldn't be done. They will cooperate, allow his remains to be exhumed to have more further testing, but you know, Kyra, even though results could be inconclusive because it's been eight years. Polonium-210 is an agent that decays and there's really no way of telling if, in fact, he was poisoned and by who.
So even if they do exhume the body and have those further testing, we may never know what happened to Yasser Arafat.
PHILLIPS: That's a pretty fascinating story. Elise, appreciate it. Joining us from Jerusalem.
And a footnote about polonium. It was actually discovered in 1898 by Marie Curie and her daughter, Irene, was actually one of the first people that it killed.
PHILLIPS: A relatively new kind of attack has shaken the U.S. security system and the Department of Homeland Security says it got 198 reports of suspected cyber-security threats in 2011.
CNN intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly is live in Washington. So, Suzanne, put it into perspective. How intense is this threat?
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Those numbers are up sharply, Kyra. Now, remember, this is the number of reported attacks against companies that control things like the power grid, water filtration plants, even nuclear facilities.
The Department of Homeland Security's cyber-division reports that reported attacks against all of them, up significantly since 2009. Take a look at numbers. In 2009, there were nine attacks that were reported to DHS. In 2010, 41 reported attacks and, just last year, the numbers soared to, as you said, Kyra, 198 reports.
Now, that doesn't mean that every attack was successful. In some cases, it was even determined that there was no real threat, but there were at least 17 cases last year where these specially-trained teams within DHS, known as industrial control systems cyber-emergency response teams, were deployed to physical locations to investigate these.
Now, again, this is what we're talking about. The targets included the energy sector, the companies that have access to the power grid, water treatment facilities, and a nuclear facility.
The nuclear attack is particularly interesting because it involves an employee who was making a presentation using a USB-drive to download presentation materials onto a laptop. Now, those materials included malware that then spread to over 100 hosts, according to this report.
It's a little scary, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, tell us more about these teams. What exactly are they doing? How are they infiltrating the system -- shall we say -- and trying to prevent any type of attack?
KELLY: Yes, well, one of the most common types of attacks is something called spear-fishing and that's what these teams found when they went out. The teams are a really interesting approach to sort of handling protecting cyber- and computer equipment when it's held by a private company.
Now, all of these critical infrastructure facilities, as they're called, are run by private companies and there's always been some sensitivity between how much information they want to give the government, but then, again, they need the government's help and resources because a lot of times they don't have the firewalls in place, they haven't properly trained their people on what to do and what not to do and where the risks are coming from.
You know, the number one thing that you and I should really be doing and everybody is don't click on those attachments when people send you e-mails. Even if it looks like someone you might know, if there are misspellings or anything that looks unusual, just don't do it. That's the number one way to protect yourself. People are still our biggest vulnerability.
PHILLIPS: Suzanne, thank you so much. And for more reporting on national security and terrorism, just check out CNN.com/security.
Well, when you share the same name as a convicted serial child molester, life can be a little complicated. Just ask Gerry Sandusky. That's Gerry with a "G," a sportscaster for the Baltimore Ravens, as opposed to Jerry with a "J," the infamous former Penn State football coach who's now behind bars for sexually abusing young boys.
Now, the spelling may differ, but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from confusing the two. Sandusky says he's been bombarded with hate-filled messages. One woman even calling him a vile human being, another wishing him, well, let's just say, a very unpleasant stay in prison.
So Gerry with a "G" says he's just trying to be patient through it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. NICOLA NOBLE (ph), 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION: Hi. My name is Sergeant First Classman Nicola Noble (ph) with 1st Infantry Division here at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. I want to wish my mom and sisters from Brooklyn, New York, a happy Independence Day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: AAA says more than 42 million of us will travel for the holiday. That's the most since 2007 Apparently, it's due to the big drop in gas prices.
David Mattingly, at a gas station in Atlanta.
David, it's pretty good news for all of us, especially families, but it could be short-lived. (LAUGHTER)
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. It could be good news today, but we're already seeing the prices inch back up. It's leaped up a cent across the country just in the last 24 hours. The problem is uncertainty in the markets, uncertainty with the political situation in the Middle East, uncertainty with the weather, the possibility of hurricanes later in the summer in the U.S. All of that could potentially affect the supply chain. So what experts are saying is enjoy it now, fill up now because -- and we're looking at the possibility of maybe up to 15 cents more per gallon on average by September, and it's all because of that uncertainty.
PHILLIPS: Well, what do you think? Will folks be taking longer trips with these good deals this holiday?
MATTINGLY: People are taking longer trip this holiday season. When you look at numbers, it's not really that dramatic the amount of money you're saving per tank. Compared to last year at this time, you might have an extra $2.25 in your pocket when you walk away from the pumps. That isn't that dramatic. What is dramatic and what's affecting so many in their decisions this holiday season is we saw recently 78 straight days of oil prices coming down. So that was enough for them to say let's take the car trip we've been planning. Plus, it's the fact that the Fourth of July holiday is landing right in the middle of the week. You're seeing people take what used to be a three-day weekend and turning it into a four or five-day vacation. AAA estimates people might be traveling 50 miles more with their car trips this year than they did last year.
PHILLIPS: We know you won't traveling. You're here at home.
Do you have fun plans for the day once you're off or are you working all day?
MATTINGLY: Hey, I'm going hour by hour here, watching the gas prices rise and fall.
We're stay on top of this and not think about the good stuff until later.
PHILLIPS: OK. We'll keep checking in.
David Mattingly for us there in Atlanta. Thanks, David.
Why don't we head over to Coney Island, hot dogs, the battle for the mustard yellow championship belt. It's Fourth of July. We do this every year. Contestants are in place for this year's Nathan's famous hot dog-eating contest. The man to beat -- isn't it always this guy -- Joey Chestnut. This is last year's contest. He holds the world record still for eating 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. He's seeking his sixth win this year. As for the women, always beware of the 100-pound Sonya Thomas. She actually puts away 41 dogs for the win a year ago, and this is her, yesterday, at the weigh-in.
Alison Kosik, I have interviewed her before and I remember one of the funniest things she ever told me is, when she goes on a date, she likes to go to the buffet.
Can you hear me?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nice.
KOSIK: Right now, talking about the women, the women's championship is going on right now. They're shoving as many of these as they can into their mouth. Thing they're three minutes right now into the contest. The goal of this thing, of course, is to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes. The favorite to win is Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas. As you said, she downed 41 hot dogs at one point. That's her record. She's trying to beat it today. Of course, in about a half hour, the men are going to take the stage. And the favored to win there is Joey Chestnut. He downed 68 hot dogs. He's trying to beat his record as well. Says he's prepared for this because he hasn't eaten solid food for three days. His stomach is ready for this.
There is a technique for this. They go ahead and split the hot dog in half. They also have to eat the buns. They split the buns in half and dip the buns in water and they down it all. You ready for us, Kyra? Do you want to come and join us?
PHILLIPS: You're making me very hungry. You can buy the Nathan's hot dogs in the grocery store. I see them everywhere. You don't have to head to Coney Island, although Coney Island is pretty darn right.
KOSIK: That right. You can buy the Nathan's hot dogs at the supermarket. I'm not eating them after I see what's going on on the stage.
It's so disgusting, you can't watch it, let alone east one after seeing what they're doing with it. I'm sorry --
PHILLIPS: Alison, get into the spirit. Take a bite. Give me a little something, something. You're like a size zero. You need to have a few of those.
KOSIK: On TV, there's no way I'm eating one of these. Sorry.
PHILLIPS: Alison Kosik, she got the great gig at the Hot Dog Glory Contest. It will at noon. She's not doing financials for us today. She's doing the hot dog eating contest. We'll keep checking in with you. Thank you so much.
And if you've got 500 bucks, you can have a house, or for $200, a vacant land in Detroit. About 6,000 properties are up for grabs right now at auction in Wayne County. Homes that didn't sell at a tax foreclosure, so the properties apparently are spread throughout the county. Most, though, are in struggling Detroit neighborhoods. The closed-bid auction started last month and bidding ends next Tuesday.
All right. As you know, it's Independence Day and the holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence back in 1776. Besides being a historic day, it's also one for a lot of fun, relaxation, barbecues, Coney Island dogs with Alison. What do Americans love most about Fourth of July? The day off? The food, drinks? We've got the answers straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PVT. ERIC SKIRUM (ph): It's Private First Class Eric Skirum (ph). I'm stationed in Afghanistan. I want to do a shout-out to my family, mom, dad, sister in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as my friends. I love and miss all you guys. Have a happy Fourth of July.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: It is the Fourth of July. According to our CNN/ORC poll released today, the two best parts of the holidays are food and fireworks. 38 percent say cookouts and picnics are the most enjoyable part of Independence Day, 28 percent choosing fireworks, having a day off finished third. That's surprising.
And 5 percent said parades were the best thing about today's holiday.
Now, celebrating the fourth? Visit my Facebook page and let me know how you're spending your day.
The Fourth of July, it's not just about the barbecues, hotdogs and fireworks. We know that. It's about America's independence and all the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.
So in this week's "Human Factor," our Dr. Sanjay Gupta raises the story of a U.S. soldier who has done just that.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When did you know you wanted to be in the Army, be a military person?
MAJ. DAN GADE, U.S. ARMY: My dad fought in Vietnam. My older brother was a '94 West Point graduate. I'm a '97 west point graduate and my younger brother is served in the Army.
GUPTA: But it wasn't until January 5, 2005, when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb that he realized how dangerous war could be. Three weeks after the incident, Dave woke up in a hospital bed, recovering from many injuries and missing his entire right leg.
GADE: I'm lying there thinking, oh, my gosh, how much worse could this get.
GUPTA: He said sometimes he was feeling for himself, to be sure. But it was his 2-year-old daughter who snapped him out of it.
GADE: She's 2 and she wanted me to play with her on the ground. I'm in a power wheelchair and broken pelvis, and she said, daddy, can you play with me. I said, I can't sit on the floor. She turned around and said under her breath and said, my daddy can't do anything. And I crawled out of the power wheelchair and I sat on the ground with a broken pelvis and I played blocks.
GUPTA: Since that day, David became an Ironman triathlete, competing in the 100-mile swim and just finished a relay bike race across the United States, peddling six hours a day with just one leg.
GADE: It's a neat ride because you're going through the rural parts of America. To me that's the heartland.
GUPTA: The ride was grueling, yet, for Gade, it was about more than just finishing.
GADE: You have a setback and it could be something dramatic like when I got hurt in Iraq. The important thing is that you find a new normal and go for it from wherever you are and do the very best with the things that God has given you.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
PHILLIPS: For more on this, watch "Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D." this Saturday, 4:30 p.m. eastern, and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. eastern.
You hear stories like that, and you wonder how we can let guys like that become homeless. Well, it's happening, but we do have some positive news. The Labor Department is award #20 million in grants now to help more than 11,000 former service members land a job and get off the streets. The money's actually going out to various state and local agencies and organizations to fund job training and support various programs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: It may mean we'd be able to unlock limitless energy. Let me put it that way. It may be that we would understand the next secret of the universe, that we would be another step closer to knowing where we came from. We'd be another step closer to understanding the universe itself, which is ultimately quite a mystery to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Well, what's got Bill Nye and the rest of the scientific universe so pumped? I can't exactly show you but it's the best evidence yet of what one physicist calls the last missing piece of our current understanding of the universe. We're talking about the Higgs Boson subatomic particle and it's been detected, we think, in trillions of proton colors in this vast underground tube in Europe and a smaller one in the U.S. Here's what the collisions look like.
And here's Atika Shubert on why it's the biggest thing since the big bang.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a layman, I would say I think we now have it.
Would you agree?
ATIKA SHUBERT: Until today, the so-called God particle, with our understanding of the universe, existed only in thee but not anymore. Collecting data like this, scientists at CERN have announced the discovery with 99.999 percent certainty that the Higgs Boson does exist, the so-called God particle.
Professor Peter Higgs, now 83 years old, who first theorized its existence in 1964, was in the audience to experience the moment.
PETER HIGGS, HIGGS BOSON HYPOTHESIZER: For me, it's really an incredible thing that happened in my lifetime.
SHUBERT (on camera): So what is the God particle and just what does it do? Well, in one sense, it is the missing link to this massive equation. This is the standard model for particle physics, and this is our understanding of how the universe works.
(voice-over): The Higgs Boson gives us mass, which is how we measure matter, the stuff we're made of. Scientists say, without mass, stars, galaxies and planets would not have been able to spin themselves into existence after the Big Bang.
So how did scientists find it? Well, with a massive particle collider at CERN, 27 kilometers of tunnels under Switzerland and France. Researches smashed particle beams together to see what's inside, effectively recreating the Big Bang trillions of times over and over. And this is what they saw. Subatomic debris, including the decayed remains of what they say appears to be the Higgs Boson, thereby, proving its existence.
But the mysteries of the universe are not solved yet. Consider this. All the galaxies, planets and stars, everything we can see, they make up only 4 percent of the universe. There's still a lot more to discover. Finding the Higgs Boson, the God particle, opens a new door.
PHILLIPS: Atika Shubert, this is a new role for you. I never knew you had a physicist vibe in your journalistic journey there.
Tell me, Fill in the blanks here of this mile-long math problem. I saw you in front of the board here. Very impressive. What do you think?
SHUBERT: Well, there actually already has been one real-world payoff. The World Wide Web, that was invented at CERN to store all of this data to store what is really biggest scientific experiment. But does that mean we will have real-life applications with the Higgs Boson? Maybe not in our lifetimes, but it is not the say this we won't see anything down the line. When they created electromagnetic fields, when they were looking at them, they had no idea what they would use them for, but we use them everyday in our computers. So you never know.
PHILLIPS: I am fascinated at how the brilliant scientists figure these things out. What did you find so interesting, and you cover so many different stories and this is a unique one, what did you find so interesting?
SHUBERT: Well there are so many parts of this that is interesting that I cannot begin to tell you, and I will tell you what is touching though, which is watching all of the scientists, and there is not a single empty seat there. They were with all really emotional, touch. And you could more holding back tears in many cases. You cannot underestimate just how big of a scientific discovery, and what a feat it is to actually discovery, but the Higgs Boson, not just the science but the engineering involved, which is incredible. And it really inspires me to find the inner geek.
PHILLIPS: We found your inner geek. Pretty cool stuff, and neat to talk about it, God's particle.
Atika, thank you.
If you are just leaving the house, you can watch CNN from your mobile home or from your desktop. Just go the CNN.com/TV.
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SPC. JOHN DRUMBELL (ph), U.S. MILITARY: Hello, I'm Specialist Charles Drumbell (ph) stationed at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. I want to give a shout-out to my boyfriend, George Griffin, in Lumberton, North Carolina. Happy July 4th and I will be home shortly. Love you.
SGT. MICHAEL LEVINE, U.S ARMY 5TH CORP: I'm Master Sergeant Michael Levine deployed in Afghanistan with U.S. Army 5th Corp at ISAF Joint Command. I want to say happy July 4th to my family in New York, and my mother and dad and sister-in-law and their new baby, Evelyn. Happy July 4th.
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PHILLIPS: Well, those patriotic parades are taking place all over the United States. You are looking live at our affiliate from Miami, Florida, WSVN. The parade is going through Biscayne right now.
Making sure that charities is doing right thing with your donations is something that we are paying close attention to. It is a story that our Drew Griffin has been investigating for more than a year, digging for answers from charities, accused of collecting millions of dollars and not spending it where the donors expected and not spending it on the vets.
One of the charities under scrutiny is the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, DVNF. There is no sign of any of its cash donations of more than $56 million over three years that has actually gone directly to veterans. Instead of cash, Drew found that the group gives away stuff, free stuff that they have gotten from various organizations for nothing. And the vet groups say, when they get it, they don't even need it. For example, more than 11,000 bags of coconut M&M's is what showed up at the door of a veterans group in Birmingham, Alabama, that takes in homeless vets off of the streets. And the director is pretty fed up with the whole thing.
Here is part our Drew Griffin's investigation.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has gotten candy and cough drops and hundreds of pairs of shoes he did not need or ask for and now J.D. Simpson has a message for those who want to help him to support the small veteran shelter he helped to found three years ago in Birmingham, Alabama.
J.D. SIMPSON, FOUNDER, ST. BENEDICT'S VETERANS SHELTER: I am fed up with everybody out there saying let's help the vets and flavor of the day. Don't say it, do it.
GRIFFIN: He founded the St. Vincent's Veterans Center with almost no money. They struggle every day to keep it open. This mission, simple, helpless vets get help, hungry vets get food, homeless vets get shelter. Free hots and a cot, is what they call it. And in three years, the only struggle to keep the mission going is money.
SIMPSON: My budget is $250,000 this year. That is paying the liability and gas money and pay the insurance and to buy food. That's not a salary for anybody who works here. We are all volunteers.
GRIFFIN: On the shelter's front porch, he recalls the day a veteran in a wheelchair showed up.
SIMPSON: I came out here with a rainstorm and he showed up with no way to get in the house. We picked him up and carried him in here. And the DAV came by and helped us put up this ramp, and now he can use it.
GRIFFIN: Since that day, the Disabled American Veterans has sent Simpson $400 every month for gas, not coconut M&M's.
SIMPSON: We don't need a silver bullet. We need people pulling together saying let's do something. We just need people to get off their fricking sound bites and get in the streets.
GRIFFIN: St. Benedict's is time. Simpson and his friend, Rich, say it does the job, making homeless vets off the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd do it all again, too.
SIMPSON: There are a lot of success stories out there. Enough -- we were going on the verge of (INAUDIBLE) going to the retirement. It feels good when knowing our daughter calls and thanks you for getting her daddy back.
GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Birmingham, Alabama.
PHILLIPS: After watching Drew's investigative piece, I want to wish all of you a happy Independence Day and give a shout out to the men and women of the uniform. And whether you are celebrating the history or the patriotic traditions or the darn good barbeque, I want to lift up the troops and the military vets and the families.
Also, if you don't mind, could we remember 9/11 for a second? All of us will never forget the devastation of that day, but another thing they'll never forget is how many of you across this nation hung the American flag from your home. It is amazing because we came together as a country, and we showed so much support for everything that we stood for -- freedom, family, democracy and unity. And we have the flags on cars, uniforms, stamps. It hangs from the White House all of the way to the South Pole. And we hang it at half-staff to mourn a loss. Think about it, the American flag is the most powerful symbol of Americanism. So celebrate it today. As you gather with your friends and those you love, talk about what the American flag means to you and your family.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
Thanks for watching. You can continue the conversation with me on Twitter, @kyraCNN, and on Facebook.
NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL starts right now.