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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Will Roadmap To Peace Between Israelis Palestinians Work? Interview With "Fortune" Magazine Editor Andy Serwer; USS Abraham Lincoln Getting Ready for President Bush's Visit Tomorrow; Armed Coast Guard Helicopters to Patrol Coast

Aired April 30, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: Six suspected al Qaeda terrorists, including the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole attack, under arrest in Pakistan. Who's left and is the U.S. Any closer to capturing Osama bin Laden?
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld arrives in Baghdad with a message for the people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We want the Iraqi people to live in freedom so that they can build a future where Iraqi leaders answer to the Iraqi people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: But are the Iraqi people convinced?

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Paula Zahn in New York.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Good evening and welcome on this Wednesday, April 30. Also coming up tonight a special visitor at the White House today when the president held a Rose Garden signing ceremony for the Protect Act Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart was on hand. We're going to take a look at this new law a little bit later in the show.

Also ahead, a new tool in the fight for homeland security, arming Coast Guard helicopters. Is it a good idea? That story tonight from Jeanne Meserve.

But first, imagine an independent Palestine, an end to terror attacks in Israel. Is that possible in just three years? One of the key questions being asked today after international diplomats presented Israelis and Palestinians with what is being called a road map to peace.

The trip is supposed to start with the Palestinians cracking down on militants and then the Israelis withdrawing from Palestinian towns and dismantling Jewish settlements.

The second phase, as early as the end of this year, would involve the creation of a Palestinian state with provisional borders. The third phase would involve decisions on final borders, conflicting claims to Jerusalem and the status of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

President Bush says turning the road map into reality will depend on both the Israelis and Palestinians acting in good faith. Let's turn to senior White House correspondent John King who joins us from Washington with the very latest on that -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, implementing the road map also will require discipline and energy from the Bush administration and the president knows there are many skeptics, but he said today in the Oval Office that he will make every effort to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians a reality.

Mr. Bush said he is well aware that past efforts have failed, but the president says he believes two things have changed that make this the moment to seize. Number one, Yasser Arafat has been pushed to the sidelines; number two, Mr. Bush says there is a message for the entire region in the U.S. military victory just completed in the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm an optimist. I believe now that we have an interlocutory from the Palestinian authority that has spoken clearly about the need to fight terror that we have a good opportunity to advance the peace process, and I will seize the opportunity.

Secondly, the war on Iraq has made it absolutely clear that those who harbor terrorists, fund terrorists or harbor weapons of mass destruction will be held to account. That in itself helps create the conditions to move peace forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That last part was a blunt message to Syria and Iran, two countries in the neighborhood, if you will, the White House has long accused of supporting financially and with weapons the Palestinian militants blamed for so many of the suicide bombing attacks on Israelis.

And this is the first time Mr. Bush has been present. For 27 months now, for the first time he said there was a Palestinian leader he could trust. So much, in fact, that when Secretary of State Powell travels to the region to offer his views to the road map he will carry an invitation to the new prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, to come here and visit the president at the White House.

Paula, the bottom line here is they say the president is determined to dedicate the time and energy it takes. There are many skeptics, but the president also knows especially after the war in Iraq, his credibility in the Arab world rides on him on making every effort to making the road map a reality -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks, John, for the update. John King reporting from the White House.

We're going to get the latest Middle East reaction to that road map, Kelly Wallace standing by in Jerusalem tonight. Good evening, Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.

Well, both sides reacting a bit cautiously, and that is because Israelis and Palestinians say they know tremendous challenges are ahead and that there are likely to be setbacks along the way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE (voice-over): Presentations diplomats hope will be about more than symbolism. The newly sworn-in Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, receives a copy of the internationally-backed peace plan called the road map.

Ninety minutes earlier, the U.S. ambassador to Israel drives to Prime Minister Sharon's Jerusalem residence to give him his copy.

The goal of the three-year, three-phase plan is a democratic Palestinian state by 2005 and a guarantee of Israel's security.

Getting there won't be easy. Both sides must take steps they have long resisted and are already expressing different interpretations about what should happen next. Though Palestinians say the road map should be implemented immediately without any changes.

NABIL SHA'ATH, PALESTINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The road map cannot succeed unless people see that as we are implementing, Israel is also implementing.

WALLACE: But Israelis say they want to see more than a dozen changes made and say there should be an end to Palestinian terror attacks before any other steps are taken.

GIDEON MEIR, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY: There is a sequence in the road map and the sequence is calling for, first and foremost, a stop to terror.

WALLACE: Attacks such as the early morning suicide bombing outside a Tel Aviv cafe which left three innocent civilians dead. Two radical Palestinian groups have claimed responsibility.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And the leader of Hamas, one of those groups claiming responsibility, spoke out today, saying Hamas rejects the road map and will not disarm and will continue attacks against Israelis.

So one of the biggest challenges ahead, whether Mahmoud Abbas can rein in these radical Palestinian groups and whether Israel ultimately will pull out of some Palestinian towns and free settlements -- Paula.

ZAHN: Something we'll continue to monitor very closely. Thanks, Kelly Wallace.

Now back to some big news in the world and in the war against terrorism. Pakistan says it has apprehended the man they believe to be behind the USS Cole bombing.

And authorities say with certainty that they have thwarted a new attack.

National security correspondent David Ensor joins us now live with some of those details. First off, David, how significant is this arrest?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very significant, Paula, and U.S. officials say this time it was largely a Pakistani operation from start to finish, capturing Whalid ba Attash, or Tawfiq or Khalid, as he's also known, is important not just because of what he's done in the past but what he may have been plotting in the future.

U.S. officials are saying there are indications Attash and others may have been planning to attack the U.S. consulate in Karachi with explosives that were seized, along with him and the others.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: He's a killer. He was one of the top al Qaeda operatives. He was right below Khalid Shaikh Mohammed on the organizational chart of al Qaeda. He is one less person that people who love freedom have to worry about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENSOR: He was the mastermind on the USS Cole, as you mentioned, and he played a role, too, officials say, in the 9/11 attacks on the United States. He was the intermediary between the director of that operation, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and some of the hijackers when they were in the United States.

Like Osama bin Laden, Attash is a Saudi of Yemeni origin. He's close to bin Laden, officials say, having served for some time as the head of bin Laden's bodyguard detail.

Now Attash was captured by the Pakistanis in Karachi, the same place another senior al Qaeda figure, Ramzi Binal Sheibh, was also taken after a gun battle. Officials say that is another sign that most of the al Qaeda leadership that are left may well be in Pakistan.

They are calling his capture, Paula, a very big deal tonight because there are these indications that Attash and others may have been planning additional attacks. And as I mentioned, he and five others were captured along with a lot of explosives -- Paula.

ZAHN: David, is there much more you could tell us about what led to his arrest?

ENSOR: There was a constant interplay between U.S. intelligence and the Pakistanis, and I know the CIA was involved, but officials I've spoken to are saying this was basically a Pakistani operation and they're very, very pleased to see that the Pakistanis, on their own, pretty much, have managed to capture one of the last remaining senior al Qaeda figures.

They're hoping now that those others can be gotten, bin Laden and Al-Zawqari.

ZAHN: They still believe Osama bin Laden is alive, then?

ENSOR: They believe that bin Laden and Al-Zawari (ph) are alive, and they believe that they are in the border area along Pakistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps moving from one side to the other from time to time -- Paula.

ZAHN: Certainly a pivotal turn of events today. David Ensor, thanks.

A handwritten letter attributed to Saddam Hussein was published today by a London-based Arabic newspaper.

The letter, dated on Monday, calls on Iraqis to fight what it calls the poison brought by occupying forces. U.S. officials are skeptical about the letter's authenticity.

And then we move on to other news. There is still trouble between U.S. troops and Iraqi citizens in the town of Fallujah. 17 Iraqis have died in clashes there this week alone, including two killed today when a protest turned violent.

The trouble started when Iraqis demanded U.S. troops stop using a school as a base of operation.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited U.S. troops in Baghdad today. During a question and answer session at the hangar at the Baghdad Airport, Rumsfeld acknowledged there is more to be done and before the United States' job in Iraq is complete.

As senior international correspondent Nic Robertson reports, Baghdad citizens seem to agree.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUMSFELD: I think it's a complicated question.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The best way for Iraqis to see Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad, on TV. Satellite TV, once banned by Saddam Hussein, now big business.

Store owner Hassan.

"We don't like occupation," he says, "but every honorable Iraqi citizen says thank you to Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld."

Although Rumsfeld recorded a message for Iraqis, none we talked to had heard it. Most in this store thinking it's smart he didn't deliver it in person. "He couldn't go out on the street now," says Ahmed, "maybe in the future when there's more TV and people get the message about America's intentions."

Rumsfeld's promise of security likely popular, though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are waiting to see what they are going to do for us, and if the best thing is security.

ROBERTSON: At fuel stations, where lines are so long street traders are setting up stands, patience with Rumsfeld is in shorter supply.

"The greater the delay, the more violence," he says, "we'll start blowing up their tanks ourselves."

At one of Baghdad's many outdoor kabob stands, the atmosphere, more relaxed.

"We welcome Mr. Rumsfeld and his visit to the Iraqi people," he says. "We are happy Saddam is gone."

Across town in the ruins of Baghdad's telephone exchange, destroyed by coalition missiles, looters continue their scavenging. Attitudes to Rumsfeld, more practical.

Outside the nearby stores, also damaged by the same missiles, a sense Rumsfeld is responsible.

"They should rebuild Iraq," says Kasam, "rebuild what they have destroyed and we are waiting for that."

Storekeeper Ahmed, who used to sell stationery here agrees, but fears what such involvement may lead to.

"No man occupies another's country," says Ahmed, "without their own interests at heart."

In conversation, however, clear all here believe if the U.S. is serious, a balance between reconstruction and exploitation can be found.

For engineer Yasim (ph), memories of past cooperation, still fresh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not work with the government, any government. I wait for the American companies to work with them because they know how to work and they know the people who work good, they help them.

ROBERTSON: As we talk, the scavenging continues unabated. Looters, unfazed by our camera, triggering Yasim (ph) to remember what's needed most.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I don't -- not only me, all these homes here. ROBERTSON (on camera): The last time Donald Rumsfeld came to Baghdad, he met with Saddam Hussein. Possibly little wonder then while people here are hopeful; they're waiting to see what action follow his words.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And still to come tonight, the case of a missing boy from North Carolina. His 22-year-old mother speaks with CNN tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if this is your boy, you're saying that the man would be a kidnapper.

RAVEN MYERS, BUDDY MYERS' MOTHER: Yes, he would be because I don't know him and I've taken lie detector tests and I've taken everything and I have no idea what happened to him and I wasn't involved in anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Also ahead, the Pledge of Allegiance. Do the words "under God" in it make it unconstitutional? There are some new developments in that argument tonight.

And then a little bit later on, a new way to protect America, arming Coast Guard helicopters. That story tonight from Jeanne Meserve.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Time to take a look at some stories making news across America tonight.

The Justice Department is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance. A federal appeals court in San Francisco last year banned the pledge from classrooms, saying the words "under God" are unconstitutional.

A Marine is charged with 13 counts of attempted murder for allegedly sabotaging parachutes. The Marines are recommending Lance Corporate Antoine Boykins for court-martial. Authorities say Boykins and a fellow Marine cut the suspension lines because they were angry with their commanders. Three Marines were injured when their parachutes didn't open.

And flanked by victims like Elizabeth Smart and their families, President Bush signed a bill encouraging states to establish Amber Alert systems. These systems use the media and highway signs to publicize missing children. The new law also increases penalties for child abductors and sex offenders.

We're going to take a closer look now at a lost child who may have been found.

Last night we told you about the Illinois boy who looks like Tristen Myers. Tristen, who was nicknamed Buddy, disappeared from his family's North Carolina home two years ago. Buddy's biological mother now says if tests prove that this is her son, she will fight to get him back.

We just learned that one round of tests came back inconclusive, but the FBI says DNA results could be available sometime within the next 48 hour.

Buddy's mother spoke with national correspondent Gary Tuchman. He joins us now live from Roseborough, North Carolina. Gary, good evening. What can you tell us about what this little boy's mother, Raven Myers, told you?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do want to tell you first of all, Paula, that they're refining their information about the DNA results. The FBI is now saying they'll have it within the next three days. Within 72 hours. Any time within now and 72 hours.

And that's a far cry from earlier this morning when we were told it would be four to six weeks. So we should know by Saturday the DNA results. We should know if this missing boy, Buddy Myers, is the same boy as Eli Quick, who right now is in a foster care facility in the state of Illinois.

There were other I.D. tests taken today. Dental records were checked and also blood tests, fingerprints and they did come back inconclusive. Now we are being told by the FBI that today agents interviewed Ricky Quick.

He says he's the stepfather of Eli Quick; he says the two boys are different boys. He says he was married to Eli Quick's mother, who recently died in a car crash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this is not Buddy Myers, is this just a strange coincidence?

RICKY QUICK, CLAIMS TO BE ELI'S STEPFATHER: No, it's my wife's little boy and we had a bad relationship and that's it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it's another man's child.

QUICK: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long were you married to Sharon?

QUICK: Seventeen years. That's it. No more comments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TUCHMAN: This is where Buddy Myers lived. This is his great aunt's house here in North Carolina, about 80 miles south of the state capital of Raleigh. It was October 5, 2000, about two years, seven months ago, that he disappeared from here.

His great aunt, who currently has custody, says she is convinced this boy in Illinois is her boy. Also convinced, his birth mother. His birth mother goes by the name of Raven.

Raven tells us that she was 15 years old when she had him and therefore she gave up custody to her mother at the time. Her mother since died and that's why the little boy came over to his great aunt's house.

She says not only is she convinced this is her boy, but she would like to get custody back.

MYERS: I'm really excited. I hope if it's him that I can be a mom again and hope to get the kind of relationship that he needs to have with his mom, which is me.

TUCHMAN: Raven Myers is currently 22 years old. She is a dancer in an adult club. She says she currently has one other child, a daughter who is one-year-old who she has custody of. She says she is now very responsible and is ready to take back her boy, if and when he comes back home. And she says she believes it will be a matter of when instead of if.

Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Gary, are officials able to determine how this little boy was treated since he went missing?

TUCHMAN: Well, according to officials in the state of Illinois, they do believe that there was some neglect involved.

This father, this man who says he was the stepfather, brought him to a hospital in Evanston, Illinois, saying that he wanted the little boy treated for aggression; he then disappeared. It turns out he was wanted on a theft charge. He was arrested on the theft charge and it was then that the boy, who they believe was neglected, was brought to the foster home, where he is right now in the Chicago area.

ZAHN: Gary Tuchman, thanks so much.

And as we just reported a few moments ago, President Bush signed the bill that promotes the Amber Alert system as a way to help find missing children.

With Wisconsin coming onboard this morning, these alerts are now in effect in 41 states. Do they really track down abducted kids or do they plain scare us?

Charles Feldman takes a look at those questions tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since California governor Gray Davis signed an executive order last July, making the Amber Alert system mandatory, there have been 26 alerts and all have led to the safe return of children.

By contrast, when five-year-old Samantha Runyan was abducted from her Orange County, California home, before the Amber Alert system was put into effect, she was discovered dead. Some have argued that had an Amber Alert program been in place, things might have turned out differently.

The Texas abduction and murder of young Amber Hagerman in 1996 led to the creation of the first so-called Amber Alert.

During an Amber Alert, highway signs, as well as radio and TV stations, advise motorists about the child abduction and provide information that could lead to the recovery of the child.

But Barry Glassner, professor of sociology at the University of Southern California and author of the book, "The Culture of Fear," says Amber Alerts only feed that culture.

BARRY GLASSNER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CALIFORNIA: I think it's great any time that we can recover a missing child. The problem here is that we're giving the sense to everybody in America, to all the parents, to all the children, that this is a really big problem, that this is something that happens all the time when, really, it's a very rare problem.

FELDMAN: Since 1996, various Amber Alert programs have only resulted in the safe recovery of 64 children. The Justice Department says more than 800,000 children are reported missing nationwide every year. Most are either runaways or are involved in child custody cases.

As a result, some law enforcement officials worry that vigilante justice or the pursuit of innocent people could lead to the abuse of the Amber Alert system.

Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Still to come tonight, the Department of Homeland Security and the new weapon for fighting terrorism. Jeanne Meserve is in Washington to tell us all about that -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Armed helicopters in the skies over some of the nation's ports. A new effort to protect the homeland. That story coming up.

ZAHN: Thanks, Jeanne. Also tonight, if you're thinking of getting into the stock market or starting to put some of your money back into them, some good news tonight. That story from Andy Serwer as LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues on this Wednesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

Saddam Hussein may be gone from power, but he's certainly not forgotten at least in this year's State Department report on terrorism. The report accuses Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Sudan of sponsoring terrorism last year.

Officials say Iraq will be removed to reflect the regime change there, but that process will take some time.

Reflecting the crackdown that followed 9/11, the report says the total number of terror attacks fell last year to the lowest level since the 1960s.

In the latest move to step up the war on terror, the U.S. Coast Guard is getting some much-needed firepower, they say. Will helicopter crews armed with machine guns make U.S. ports more secure or is the Coast Guard going too far?

Jeanne Meserve standing by in Washington to sort things out for us tonight. Good evening again, Jeanne.

MESERVE: Hi, Paula.

If terrorists want to wreak economic havoc on the U.S., one potential target is the nation's busy ports. Now a new protective measure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE (voice-over): The USS Cole, attacked by terrorists in a speed boat while it was moored in Yemen. To prevent a similar attack in a U.S. port, the Coast Guard is deploying something new, armed helicopters.

MH-68s have been used by the Coast Guard in drug interdiction. Their machine guns fire warning shots; their 50 caliber rifles can blast through a boat's engine, stopping it cold.

But up to now, the armed helicopters have only been used at sea, far from shore. Now government officials say they will be used to enforce thick security zones, like those around coastal, nuclear and chemical plants and also moving security zones around certain high- risk tankers and military ships.

According to one government official, the helicopter crews will be authorized to use force, quote, "only when confronted with imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to any person or group of persons."

A Civil War law called Posse Conetatas (ph) prohibits the use of the military in domestic law enforcement, but the Coast Guard is exempted.

JAMES GILMORE, CHAIRMAN, GILMORE COMMISSION ON TERRORISM: Now if we start running helicopters all over the civilian areas of the United States, I think that would require much closer scrutiny, but so far I think this has not crossed the line.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: Are armed helicopters a wise use of homeland security money? Given the vulnerability of the nation's ports and terrorists' proven capability to hit ships, one knowledgeable observer says it's a nice tool to have in your arsenal -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jeanne Meserve, thanks so much.

Still to come tonight, the road map to peace in the Middle East. There is some disagreement about it among Jewish-Americans. Both sides of the debate straight out of the break.

Also ahead tonight, a big settlement on Wall Street, but maybe not big enough for some of you. Andy Serwer is here to explain how it might affect those of you who had your 401(k)s wiped out.

But first, a look at the closing numbers from this Wednesday. We've back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back at the half-hour mark here. We're going to get straight back to our lead story this hour: the new international plan to end decades of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan's authors call it a road map to peace.

State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel has been looking it over, and she joins us now. Good evening, Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula. This U.S.-backed plan is the product of a lot of hard work by the U.S., Russia, the EU, and the United Nations, a group also known as the quartet, and involved many months of meetings with Israel, the Palestinians and many Arab leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOPPEL (voice-over): The road map's final goal: two States within three years. Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace. Between now and then, three distinct phases with benchmarks and target dates charting progress through reciprocal steps. U.S. prestige on the line.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: A new opportunity is being created. It's an opportunity that must not be lost.

KOPPEL: Phase one: ending terror and violence. Delayed since December and due to end next month, in this phase, Palestinians must reiterate Israel's right to exist in peace, call for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire, confiscate illegal weapons, restructure Palestinian security forces, and end incitement against Israel, while Israel's leadership must take steps to normalize Palestinian life by affirming its commitment to a Palestinian state, calling for an end to violence against Palestinians, ending incitement, deportations, confiscation and demolition of Palestinian homes, as well as gradually withdrawing from areas occupied since September 28, 2000.

Also in phase one, Palestinian institution building, to include a draft constitution, free and fair elections, and a prime minister with a cabinet. A step approved this week by the Palestinian legislature.

On the humanitarian side, Israel must lift curfews and ease restrictions on movement of people and goods. Eventually on settlements, Israel must immediately dismantle outposts erected since March 2001 and freeze all existing settlements.

ROB MALLEY, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: The question mark, really, is whether the United States is going to be able to have the determination and commitment that it's shown, for example, in waging war on Iraq, in pushing the parties to do a minimum -- the minimum level of things they need to do to turn the page on the phase of violence we've been living through the past two-and-a-half years.

KOPPEL: Phase two: the transition. Running from June until December, it begins after Palestinian elections and ends with the possible creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders. In between, there would be an international conference focused on how to achieve a comprehensive Middle East peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Finally, phase three: an end to the conflict by 2005. Israel and the Palestinians would focus on negotiating borders of a Palestinian state, the future of Jerusalem, refugees and Israeli settlements.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOPPEL: Experts say what's missing are consequences. What happens if either side fails to deliver? Israel says it wants at least a dozen changes, and so the immediate challenge for the U.S., Paula, to move the road map off the sidelines and on to the fast track -- Paula.

ZAHN: Andrea Koppel, thanks so much.

This latest Middle East peace plan will, no doubt, spark some heated debate in the Middle East and here at home. It has already begun to fuel some pretty tough ones here, among Jewish Americans, in fact. Many leaders of Jewish organizations have expressed skepticism with the Bush administration's Middle East plans, but today a group of 14 prominent Jewish philanthropists, in a letter sent to congressional leaders, took issue with that position and urged all members of the Jewish community to offer "enthusiastic support for the president's plan."

James Tisch is the chairman of the United Jewish Communities. He's here in New York with us tonight. And Alan Solomont is a Jewish activist and philanthropist. He joins us from Washington tonight. Welcome to both of you. Alan, I'm going to start with you tonight. How would you characterize the divisions in the American Jewish community over this issue of this road map and whether it will ultimately lead to peace in the Middle East?

ALAN SOLOMONT, JEWISH ACTIVIST: I don't know if there are divisions. I think that the last two-and-a-half years have been an incredibly troubling period with Israel, really feeling the devastation of terrorists, violence and the outcome of the lack of peace, ongoing conflict.

There are people in the American Jewish community who want the president and the Congress to know that we are enthusiastically in support of the road map, of the president's resolve to use the road map as a framework for trying to change the status quo, to try to move people away from violence back to a negotiating resolution to this conflict.

This is on the heels of the military victory in Iraq. And with the change in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, we have a very unique opportunity now to change the status quo for the benefit both of Israel and the United States. And I am fully in support of the president's resolve to use the road map as a framework for trying to change the conditions.

ZAHN: Jim, if you've been asked to sign this letter that was sent off to congressional leaders, would you have signed it?

JAMES TISCH, CHAIRMAN, UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES: I don't think I would have signed it, Paula.

ZAHN: Why not?

TISCH: Because I think there is actually strong agreement on the part of American Jews that they want to see peace in the Middle East and they'd like to see a peace process move forward. And I think Jews have said to the president and to the administration that, while they may have reservations about the specifics of the road map, that they're generally in agreement that there needs to be a road map and there needs to be a peace process. Now that the road map has been put in place, I think that the entire Jewish community will be supportive of the process and look to try to get the parties to arrive at a peace.

ZAHN: You say supportive of the process, and yet, clearly, there is some discord when it comes to people believing perhaps this timetable is unrealistic. Do you think this timetable is possible? That the deadlines could be met?

TISCH: I think the timetable is impossible to keep. For example, in the timetable, it says that in the next five months there have to be the reduction of Palestinian security forces from 12 down to three, that they have to be retrained, and that there has to be the elimination of terrorism from the entire West Bank.

Everybody knows that that can't be achieved. The problem, though, is that by having deadlines it creates the sense that, once we are at the deadline, once we are at those five months, whether or not the performance has met the test, since we're at the deadline there may be an expectation that the process should move forward when in fact it probably should stay where it is until all the performance- based measures have been met.

ZAHN: Alan, do you see support of this road map setting themselves up for failure when it comes to this very specific timeline?

SOLOMONT: We've experienced nothing but failure over the last two-and-a-half years. We have to change the status quo. We have an unusual opportunity at this moment in time. The president has certainly shown himself to be a true and a strong friend to Israel. I think that the fact that he has released the road map, that he is promoting it and supportive of it, the fact that he is such a strong supporter of Israel in Israel's security presents the best opportunity that we have.

I don't claim that the road map is perfect or that it is a panacea. But clearly, it's the first opportunity in two-and-a-half years of really changing conditions and trying to move the parties into a different environment. An environment that might make negotiated peace settlement a possibility. Clearly, there is nothing else that is viable on the horizon that is likely to interrupt the violence and free Israel from the kind of terrorism and lack of security that it's lived with for the last two-and-a-half years.

ZAHN: Jim, let's come back to a point you were making a little bit earlier on, where you were you skeptical the Palestinians will be able to meet the deadline. What do you think is going to be tough for Israel to meet? There is a lot of cynicism in the Middle East about whether Israel will stop building settlements.

TISCH: Actually, I think that Prime Minister Sharon has made it clear as of 10 days ago that he is willing to make very difficult sacrifices for peace. He said that he's willing to dismantle settlements in the name of peace. I think before he does that, though, he would like to have some assurance that the dismantling of those settlements will actually lead to peace. But I think for sure that the Israeli leadership, as embodied by the prime minister, is willing to make very significant sacrifices and is doing all that they can to try to achieve peace.

ZAHN: Alan, finally, what do you think is at stake here for President Bush with this road map?

SOLOMONT: Well, I think that, clearly, the road map and ending the violence in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians is not only in Israel's interest, it's also in the United State's interest. I think particularly after the Iraqi conflict, when the United States would like to enhance its relationships with Arab countries, would also like to be supportive of the moderate Arab regimes in the area, showing a resolve to try to end the violence and achieve a change and a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is in America's interest. It's also in President Bush's interest. So I think actually everybody has a stake in the success of this, other than those extremists and those terrorists that are enemies of peace. This is in Israel's interests, it's in the United States' interest, it's in the Palestinians' interests. And again, I don't see any alternative or viable initiative that has any chance of changing the status quo and moving us in the direction to end the conflict.

ZAHN: Jim, you get the last word tonight. Three years from now will there be a Palestinian state?

TISCH: I don't know if there will be a Palestinian state, but I do know that the president has put a tremendous effort into this issue. And I think the prime minister of Israel has put tremendous pressure -- put tremendous stature -- his stature our the line to try to achieve peace. I think now it's up to the Palestinians to show that they, too, want to have peace. And if in fact they do want to have peace and if they want to have a fair settlement, I think it is attainable in the near future.

ZAHN: Jim Tisch and Alan Solomont, thank you for both of your perspectives tonight. We appreciate your time.

And still to come this evening, if you're thinking about getting back into the stock market again, Andy Serwer has some words of caution right after the break.

And then a little bit later on, the Abraham Lincoln getting ready for tomorrow's presidential visit. So how does the president actually arrive on the aircraft carrier? Kyra Phillips has some answers, it involves some cables, as LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues on a Wednesday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was cautiously optimistic about the economy during testimony before Congress today, saying it is poised for a rebound with the end of the war in Iraq. We showed you the Wall Street numbers earlier. Even though today was lackluster, the Dow Jones industrial average has gained almost a thousand points since March 11th.

If you're considering jump back into the markets or jumping in for the first time, some developments outside the market this week could influence your thinking. Government regulators fine 10 of the nation's biggest banks and brokerage firms more than a billion dollars for steering consumers to unworthy stocks during the 1990s. The firms acknowledge no wrongdoing, but they'll have to change the way they do business.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM DONALDSON, SEC CHAIRMAN: These cases reflect a very sad chapter in the history of American business. A chapter in which those who reaped enormous benefits based on the trust of investors profoundly betrayed that trust. The cases also represent an important new chapter in our ongoing efforts to restore investors' faith and confidence in the fairness and integrity of our markets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serewer, is here to explain what is going to be different. Hi, Andy. Nice to see you.

ANDY SERWER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: Nice to see you. First of all, what does this mean to the hundreds of thousands of people out there who had their 401(k)s wiped out? Particularly those who invested in stocks that they were led to believe would be strong investments?

SERWER: Well, I think there are two things going to here. One, the government is trying to restore trust, trying to restore investors' faith in the stock market by punishing these Wall Street firms. And, secondly, they're trying to get some of that money back to investors who lost money.

They have set up a fund worth almost $400 million that investors will be able to tap into if they were customers of those firms and if they owned stocks that the government has cited as being those that these Wall Street firms recommended. And then they may be able to get some of their money back.

Now it's a start. Four hundred million dollars sounds look a lot.

ZAHN: It's a drop in the bucket compared to what was lost.

SERWER: Well that's correct. Over the past three years, investors have lost $7 trillion in the stock market. But the thing is, Paula, is that these Wall Street firms were responsible for some of that, but certainly not all of it.

ZAHN: So explain to an investor out there who thinks they have money coming from the government because of this, how do they get -- is it too early on in the process to determine how you get onboard?

SERWER: Well, it is a little early to do that. They have just set up this fund. They're just starting to. You need to go to the Securities and Exchange Web site and follow the development.

First of all, you have to determine whether or not you were a customer of one of those 10 firms. If you weren't, forget about it.

ZAHN: Right. Well that's pretty easy to figure out. You know that.

SERWER: And you have to know whether you were in those stocks. So that would be also at the Web site. Basically, if you lost a lot of money in tech stocks and you were a customer of one of these firms, you could be eligible, as they say, to get some money back. But if you lost $50,000 in those stocks, you're not going to get all that $50,000 back from this fund.

ZAHN: What do you think you will get back? Is there any way of knowing?

SERWER: It's very hard to tell at this point. However, there is going to be arbitration between investors out there and these firms. It's already begun.

So you can also do that, as well. And when I talked to Eliot Spitzer several months ago, he acknowledged that his investigation was, in effect, providing a road map for arbitration and for private litigation to go against these Wall Street firms. And, in fact, that's why this $1.4 billion settlement is a drop in the bucket, but the Wall Street firms are going to end up paying a lot more than that, Paula, because they're going to have to pay arbitration to investors and they're going to have to pay in private litigation, as well.

ZAHN: What do you say to investors out there who have had their -- basically, their futures wiped out. They were putting kids to college on that money and they're saying, wait a minute. How can they pay this fine and admit no wrongdoing?

SERWER: Yes. I mean that's really problematic for a lot of people. However, one thing you have to point out her is that no one was complaining about this game was everyone was making tons of money back in the 1990s. We're all complaining and screaming murder now that the stock market's going down.

So I think that a lot of investors have to look at themselves. If you put all of your money into the tech stock basket and lost it all, well, you know that's investing 101. But if you were listening to your broker and he or she was telling you to put all your money in there and you really didn't know what was going on, you really do have a serious claim against these people.

ZAHN: Very quickly, what impact does this settlement have on future trading? What is the long-term impact?

SERWER: Well, I think it's starting to have an effect on Wall Street. I mean I talk to people there all of the time, every day, and they're moaning and groaning and telling me there's new rules, new regulations, lawyers looking over their shoulder. We have to pay out these fines. And to that I say, that's a good thing.

I don't think we're at the end of this process. We're at the beginning of this process. There's still some abuses out there, potentially, and I think it's sort of a sentiment thing.

You know investors have to feel comfortable going back into the market. They have to trust Wall Street. And we are certainly not there yet. I think it's going to take a while more to sort out.

ZAHN: As far as you know, do you have a check coming?

SERWER: No, I don't. I have no one to blame except for me, that's for sure.

ZAHN: Thanks, Andy.

SERWER: OK.

ZAHN: Still to come tonight, the USS Abraham Lincoln getting ready for the president's visit tomorrow. Kyra Philips onboard that ship. Good evening, Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Paula. We are live right here on the flight deck. Tomorrow this is where the president is going to land. Now, we don't want the aircraft to hit this first wire. Pilots want to hit that third wire, and I'll explain coming up when the HEADLINES continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Thousands of sailors onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln are getting ready for a very special visit, a visit from their commander in chief tomorrow. Kyra Philips had been embedded on the USS Abraham Lincoln during the Iraq war. She has returned to the ship, now in the homestretch of its journey.

She joins us from at sea tonight. Kyra, I know there is a strong sense of anticipation. I'm just wondering what the level of concern is in spite of the success these pilots have had in landing their planes on this carrier, having the president attempt that with two talented pilots.

PHILLIPS: Well that's a great question, Paula, and I have the perfect person to address that for us. We're here on the flight deck. You can see behind me that that's where they're going to be setting up the platform for where the president is going to speak to all of the sailors that are still on the ship.

Now during the war, it was very busy out here. There was aircraft launching day and night. Now you can see it's pretty much cleared out. That's because half the air wing has already left, headed home to their various areas. And tomorrow is the final flyoff.

I'm going to introduce you now to the CAG (ph) of the air wing, Captain Kevin Albright. He's the commander of Airwing 14. Sir, thank you so much for being with us.

CAPT. KEVIN ALBRIGHT, COMMANDER AIRWING 14: Absolute pleasure.

PHILLIPS: All right. Now you are the one that decided on the aircraft and the pilots to fly the president. Tell me how you selected both.

ALBRIGHT: Well, actually, I didn't have a whole lot of say in it, but I did get to pick the pilots. And we picked two mature pilots that also are very good landers. So that was the criteria.

PHILLIPS: Of course. Now why does this mean so much to hour airwing that the president is coming here?

ALBRIGHT: Well, it's a momentous occasion to have -- I've been on eight deployments, and we've never had a president come out and welcome us home. So it's a pretty big event for the airwing and the ship crew.

PHILLIPS: And this is a president that's been pretty pro- military.

ALBRIGHT: Sure has. Sure has. So it's an honor.

PHILLIPS: Where are you going to position him in the aircraft?

ALBRIGHT: We're going to let him fly in the co-pilot seat.

PHILLIPS: You're going to actually let him fly?

ALBRIGHT: I imagine he will. He's an old fighter pilot, so I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't take a turn at the stick.

PHILLIPS: Do you think he might let him attempt to land on this carrier?

ALBRIGHT: Probably not. Probably not.

PHILLIPS: And maybe we should talk about that for a minute. Let's talk about the wires and how important it is. You definitely don't want your pilots to hit this first wire right here on the flight deck, why?

ALBRIGHT: The one wire is a little closer to the back end of the ship. So we tend to get a lower grade. We grade every landing. If you land on the one wire, you tend to have a below average grade. The target wire is going to be the three wire, which is a little ways up the flight deck. And that's where the pilot will try to land the airplane tomorrow.

PHILLIPS: Now, you know a trap, it's a pretty strong feeling to hit that wire and get pulled back. What if the president gets sick?

ALBRIGHT: Well, he'll have an airsickness bag with him, but I suspect his previous flight experience, he'll do just fine. And it's over pretty quick.

PHILLIPS: How long is the flight going to take?

ALBRIGHT: I'm not sure. I don't think we're going to be far at sea, so it shouldn't take a very long time. But I imagine if he wants to fly around a little bit, it will take longer. We'll have a ready deck when he gets here.

PHILLIPS: So, basically, he has the option to fly as much as he wants.

ALBRIGHT: Yes, he's the president.

PHILLIPS: Thank you so much for your time.

ALBRIGHT: Thanks, Kyra.

PHILLILPS: You bet. So tomorrow morning the president will be arriving right here on this flight deck getting ready to address the remaining squadrons in the airwing, the F-18 squadrons, in addition to the rest of the sailors, basically thanking them for what they did during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Paula, and officially calling an end to the war.

ZAHN: I noticed in that interview there wasn't a great sense of danger communicated about what the president's going to attempt to do tomorrow with two very talented pilots. But is that something you've heard much talk about?

PHILLILPS: Actually, there really hasn't been -- it's interesting because I asked CAG (ph) about that. I asked a number of the pilots about that. And you pretty much get the standard answer, Paula, "This is what we train for. We didn't have any incidents during the war, very rarely do we ever have an incident."

They have picked their best pilots. I know what type of aircraft they have selected. It's a very steady aircraft. So they feel confident and feel secure, secure enough to put the president of the United States in that aircraft.

ZAHN: Well we just hope when the president takes a turn at the stick that it is a smooth ride and he doesn't need to use the airsickness bag that they're going to give him.

PHILLIPS: That's right. We'll be watching, Paula.

ZAHN: It should be a very exciting landing. Kyra Phillips, thanks so much.

And that wraps up this hour of LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES. Coming up next, children at risk. We're going to be talking with a number of people about the Amber Alert system with the grandmother of the child that inspired a new tool to find missing and exploited children across the nation.

And as we wait for the identification of that missing boy in North Carolina, we're going to take a closer look at DNA tests. Why do they take so long to come back with an answer?

Those stories and much more in our next hour. Please stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Donald Rumsfeld asks the Iraqi people for help in capturing the remnants of Saddam's regime. Can the U.S. count on the Iraqi people? Can they count on the U.S.?

President Bush signs off on a nationwide Amber Alert system.

BUSH: In your great suffering and loss you have found the courage to come to the defense of all children.

ANNOUNCER: Will a nationwide network to find kidnapped children result in more happy endings to every parent's nightmare.

Is the child found in Chicago the same boy who disappeared from North Carolina more than two years ago?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it's not him, he's got a twin.

ANNOUNCER: Is this Buddy?

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Paula Zahn in New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Good evening. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. We've got a busy night for you.

Forty-two days ago, almost to the hour, the U.S. launched a missile strike on Baghdad. It was an attempt to take out Saddam Hussein and it started the war. Now, as Baghdad rests in U.S. hands and Iraq is under coalition control, President Bush is getting ready to declare an end to the major fighting.

Over the next 30 minutes, we're going to take a look at what brought us to this point as well as some of the day's other big headlines in the order in which they happened.

Plus, we're going to take an in-depth look at the issue of missing kids. Are America's children at risk? We're going to talk with experts and examine some startling statistics.

But first, we're going to start off our timeline with the latest on the spread of SARS. At 4:00 a.m. Eastern time, the acting major of Beijing says the spread of the deadly virus remains unchecked and the city's health system is overwhelmed. In his words, SARS is an epidemic that hit us head on. In fact, he says none of the city's hospitals specializes in respiratory illnesses.

The World Health Organization says mainland China accounts for more cases of SARS than the rest of the world combined. Nearly 3,500 cases and 159 deaths have been reported there.

While Beijing has been dealing with SARS, the Iraqi town of Fallujah, just west of Baghdad, was dealing with bloodshed. In the 4:00 a.m. hour as well, hospital officials there say two people were killed, 15 wounded, when U.S. troops opened fire on protesters. It is the second such deadly incident since Monday.

Karl Penhaul has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraqi protesters, American armor, beaten back by taunts and sandals thrown by the crowd. On the streets of Fallujah the death toll keeps rising, 17 civilians killed in clashes with U.S. soldiers in less than 48 hours, 65 others wounded. The most recent shooting was outside this U.S. Army compound Wednesday morning. Each side accuses the other of firing first. "The United States has killed children. The United States has killed people in their own homes" he says. "The United States is a terrorist country."

A coffin makes its final journey through the streets of Fallujah, one of two demonstrators shot dead Wednesday. He was in the throng that had gone to protest the deaths of 15 of his townsfolk in a separate demonstration Monday.

"A convoy of four or five American vehicles passed by the peaceful demonstration" he says. "One soldier from the convoy fired a shot which provoked the other soldiers in the compound to fire at us." Captain Mike Redenmuller (ph), the commander of the unit in the compound, tells a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't fire first. Somebody in part of the crowd took a weapon, fired at one of the soft skin vehicles, shot it and hit it. At that point, we fired two warning shots from this compound. What happened from there, from the convoy, I know they returned fire and that's all I know.

PENHAUL: The U.S. Army has pledged to investigate the deaths but for now soldiers who came to free Iraq of Saddam Hussein can only hunker down and watch the mood go sour.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Fallujah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And as it often does, the British Prime Minister's question and answer period in parliament got pretty heated this morning during the seven o'clock hour. Tony Blair told critics that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will continue.

The prime minister was asked if he would quit if chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons are not found. Blair said he was absolutely convinced that signs of the banned items would be found and that would mean some people would have to reexamine what they had been saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I am absolutely convinced and confident about the case on weapons of mass destruction and I simply suggest to him, and others who believe somehow that this was all a myth invented by us, I would refer them first of all to the 12 years of United Nations reports detailing exactly what weapons of mass destruction were held by the then Iraqi regime.

And we are now in a deliberative way and in a considered way investigating the various sites and we will bring forward the analysis of the results of that investigation in due course and I think when we do so, the honorable gentleman and others will be eating some of their words.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: One of those rocky Q&A sessions that I defy you to sleep through. It's always good theater tuning in to those once a week with the prime minister.

Confirmation came during the nine o'clock hour that President Bush will announce an end to major combat operations in Iraq. The White House says the president will address the nation from onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln as the aircraft carrier returns to the U.S. He's actually going to fly onto the carrier. The presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer pointed out that the address is not a declaration of victory and does not mark the end of the war.

Also during that hour a hearty thank you from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to U.S. troops in Baghdad. Rumsfeld told the troops they have rescued a nation and liberated a people.

Barbara Starr has more on his visit to Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly 20 years after Donald Rumsfeld came to Baghdad as Middle East peace envoy, he returned, this time putting on an armored vest and riding in a military convoy through the city, the most senior U.S. official to visit. At Baghdad International Airport he thanked the troops but said the job wasn't over just yet.

RUMSFELD: We have to help Iraqis restore their basic services and we have to help provide conditions of stability and security so that the Iraqi people can form an interim authority, an interim government, and then ultimately a free Iraqi government based on political freedom, individual liberty, and the rule of law.

STARR: Along the road some Iraqis waved, some stared, impossible to tell if they knew what was happening, security tight at all times, military helicopters overhead.

The secretary went to a power station for a briefing on progress in restoring electricity, the lights now back on in half the city, U.S. officials say but without full power, there are still problems. Sanitation services not fully functioning and the civilian coordinator, retired Lieutenant General Jay Garner insisting there is no humanitarian crisis.

GEN. JAY GARNER (RET), U.S. CIVIL ADMIN. FOR IRAQ: You all are reporting a lot about some demonstrations and stuff like that. Yes, there are some demonstrations. That's the first step in democracy. You're allowed to disagree.

STARR: Still, General Garner later said parts of Baghdad remain unstable. Militias still need to be brought under control. The problems for the people, he conceded, remain very real. Even so, the hope is to begin to have Iraqis take control of some government functions within weeks.

And, military commanders who met with the secretary at a bombed- out palace warned there is still criminal activity. Saddam Hussein allegedly flooded the streets with weapons before the war. U.S. soldiers now find themselves removing 40 truckloads of weapons and ammunition each day from Baghdad.

(on camera): It's been an extraordinary day here in Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld coming to this capital city that U.S. forces conquered so quickly. Here at this bombed-out palace of Saddam Hussein, now a military base, he is meeting with his commanders to discuss the security situation, the progress in the reconstruction, and beginning to think about just how soon U.S. military forces might be able to return home.

(voice-over): But those commanders warning that a U.S. presence will be required for some time to come.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And, during the ten o'clock hour, a different kind of roadmap was given to the new Palestinian prime minister. Israel's prime minister got a copy of that too.

White House Correspondent John King looks at the roadmap to peace in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president say there is a lesson from the Iraq war that should help him enforce the new roadmap for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

BUSH: Those who harbor terrorists, fund terrorists, or harbor weapons of mass destruction, will be held to account. That in itself helps create the conditions to move peace forward.

KING: That was a blunt message to Syria and Iran, long accused by the White House of backing Palestinian militants. The roadmap was delivered only after Mahmoud Abbas was confirmed as the new Palestinian prime minister. Mr. Bush never tried to hide his contempt for Yasser Arafat and says in Abbas there is finally a Palestinian leader he can trust.

BUSH: He's a man I can work with and I look forward to working with him and will work with him for the sake of peace and for the sake of security.

KING: The roadmap envisions a provisional Palestinian state by early next year and a final agreement creating an independent Palestine by 2005. But to achieve that historic ending the Israelis and Palestinians would need to set aside decades of violence and mistrust and meet the roadmap's key interim benchmarks: an immediate ceasefire; a crackdown on Hamas and other Palestinian militias; a dismantling of Jewish settlements created since February, 2001; and direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

BUSH: Israel is going to have to make some sacrifices in order to move the peace process forward.

KING: The administration's effort to enforce the roadmap is likely to require frequent shuttle diplomacy by Secretary of State Powell, hours of personal diplomacy by the president, and direct pressure on Israel to halt settlement activities.

FMR. SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL, FMR. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY: There's no way that this can be done without active and sustained American leadership at the highest level and I think a great deal of patience and perseverance because there are going to be setbacks.

KING: The effort begins with a Powell trip to the region next week.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: And the president promises to prove wrong those who question his personal commitment and Mr. Bush tells top aides that combined with the effort in post-war Iraq his administration has a historic opportunity to reshape the politics and the direction of the Middle East - Paula.

ZAHN: John King thanks so much.

And then, when our timeline continues...

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials are saying Attash knows about plans for future al Qaeda attacks. His capture could save lives.

ZAHN: The arrest of suspected al Qaeda terrorists includes one who may have a lot of inside information.

And then, a little boy lost, is Eli Quick, Tristen "Buddy" Myers? The FBI is waiting for some DNA evidence to crack the case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And welcome back and a beautiful spring evening here in New York City tonight.

We're going to pick up our timeline now on Capitol Hill where some welcome words were heard. In the 10:00 a.m. hour, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan spoke before the House Financial Services Committee. He said the economy is poised for stronger growth.

Greenspan says the lackluster recovery from the 2001 recession will accelerate it now that the war in Iraq is over. Still, he left the door open for lower interest rates if growth remains sluggish and expressed concerns about a mounting deficit.

New arrests in the war on terror reported at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Pakistani officials say they rounded up six suspected al Qaeda members. One of the suspects is thought to be an al Qaeda member who had a direct connection to Osama bin Laden.

National Security Correspondent David Ensor explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR (voice-over): He was the mastermind in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 and U.S. officials are calling extremely significant the capture on Tuesday by Pakistani authorities of Whalid ba Attash, also known as Khalid (ph) or Tawfiq (ph).

BUSH: He's a killer. He was one of the top al Qaeda operatives. He was right below Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on the organizational chart of al Qaeda. He is one less person that people who love freedom have to worry about.

ENSOR: Attash was Osama bin Laden's chief bodyguard for some years, a trusted lieutenant who lost one foot during fighting in Afghanistan. Like bin Laden, he is a Saudi national of Yemeni origin.

MATT LEVITT, FMR. FBI TERRORISM ANALYST: The odds are that Tawfiq ba Attash at any given time was planning at least one attack, so his capture is significant not only in terms of grilling him about his past activities but grilling him about his current activities and his current contacts.

ENSOR: Along with five other suspected al Qaeda members, Attash was captured in the teaming city of Karachi, the same place another al Qaeda leader, Ramzi bin al-Shiebh was caught after a gun battle.

Two former al Qaeda operations chiefs, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah were also captured in Pakistani cities and U.S. officials say most of al Qaeda's remaining leadership may well be in Pakistani cities too, though the top two leaders, bin Laden and Ayman al- Zawahiri are believed to be in the remote area of the Pakistani-Afghan border.

Attash also met with two of the 9/11 hijackers in Malaysia in January of 2000 and officials say he was the intermediary between them and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind.

The State Department released an annual report minutes after news of the capture broke on CNN, a report showing a 44 percent drop in terrorist attacks in 2002.

AMB. COFER BLACK, COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM: A large number of terror suspects were not able to launch an attack last year because they are in prison. More than 3,000 of them are al Qaeda terrorists and they were arrests in over 100 countries.

ENSOR: U.S. officials say there's evidence Attash was plotting additional attacks, possibly including an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi. He and the others were captured along with a large quantity of explosives and weapons.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: At one o'clock in the timeline, news from Israel police that two British citizens carried out the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last night. Three people and one of the bombers were killed in yesterday's blast at a blues club near the American embassy. Dozens of others were hurt, some of them seriously.

Police say Asif Mohammed Hanif set off his explosives killing himself in the blast. The militant wing of Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade are now claiming responsibility.

A search is underway for Omar Khan Sharif. Officers say he was not able to detonate his bomb belt and he threw it away and ran after struggling with Israelis.

After a short break our timeline picks up in the 2:00 p.m. hour. Just a month after being reunited with her family, Elizabeth Smart was at the White House. We'll tell you why.

Also ahead, remembering the troops who won't be coming home. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

We're going to pick, up our timeline in the 2:00 p.m. hour with a new measure to help protect kids in this country. Elizabeth Smart and her family were among those in attendance at the White House Rose Garden as President Bush signed into law the Protect Act of 2003.

The law encourages states to develop Amber Alert systems. Such alerts use radio, TV, electronic billboards, and emergency broadcast systems to spread information about kidnapping suspects and their victims. The alerts are named after a 9-year-old Texas girl who was kidnapped and killed back in 1996.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: This law, the Protect Act of 2003, will greatly assist law enforcement in tracking criminals who would harm our children and will greatly help in rescuing the youngest victims of crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Meanwhile, some disappointment for the parties involved in another high profile missing child case. In the 2:00 p.m. hour, the FBI had said it was waiting for test results today on a boy identified as Eli Quick. The boy was abandoned at a Chicago hospital two months ago, and authorities are trying to figure out whether he is actually Tristen "Buddy" Myers.

Buddy has been missing from his North Carolina home since October of 2000, but as it turned out the FBI says the tests, which involve dental records and blood tests came back inconclusive. Authorities now say they'll have to wait for DNA test results. They could come as soon as 72 hours. Other people are less optimistic, saying it could be four weeks or so. We'll see.

Be sure to stay tuned to LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES for a deeper look at the issue of missing kids. Are America's children at risk and, if so, what are those statistics?

We're going to talk to the grandmother of the little girl for which the Amber Alert is named. We're also going to take a look at the case in Chicago and talk to an expert about those DNA test.

An hour later a call from the Bush administration to the Supreme Court to keep a key phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance; Attorney General John Ashcroft says the administration is appealing to the high court to keep "under God" as part of the Pledge.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Pledge unconstitutional because of the "one nation under God" phrase. The Justice Department and a California school district say the phrase doesn't violate the separation between church and state.

There have been joyous celebrations for U.S. troops returning from Iraq but there are also efforts to remember the ones who didn't survive the fighting. At 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, there was a memorial service for members of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

Brian Cabell is there tonight - Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, you might recall during the war it was the 3rd Infantry Division that led the charge up the center of Iraq, all the way from Kuwait to Baghdad. And, as you might expect, the casualties were very high, 87 wounded so far, 34 killed, that 34 represents almost one-fourth of all the American dead in the war. And today at Fort Stewart where the 3rd is based, they said goodbye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CABELL (voice-over): They honored the 34 with 34 pairs of boots, 34 helmets, and 34 dog tags. Over the last couple of days, two more names have been added as a matter of fact. They honored them also with 34 freshly planted trees, living memorials they call them. This is also called the warrior's walk, these 34 trees some consolation perhaps for the families here.

ULYSES WILLIAMS, FATHER: It's hard to lose a son but when you got people to be behind you, you know, you kind of ease your pain. I guess the pain maybe never goes away but I know my son was a hero.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABELL: We talked to the wives of one of the soldiers after the ceremony today. She said she had no regrets whatsoever. She said her husband joined the Army knowing fully well what he was doing. He knew about the dangers involved. He knew, particularly, about the dangers in Iraq and, she said, he died what he loved doing - Paula.

ZAHN: They certainly were afforded a dignified service there. Thanks so much Brian.

We told you a little bit about the new Child Protection Act in the case of that abandoned boy in Chicago. Now, we're going to take a closer look.

Coming up, how at risk are America's children? We're going to talk to some people who can help answer that question.

And, take a look at some eye-opening statistics that might make you sick to your stomach, all that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: An emotional scene in the Rose Garden as President Bush signs the Child Protection Act into law.

BUSH: My signature on this new law will formally establish the federal government's role in the Amber Alert system.

ANNOUNCER: Could this law have saved Elizabeth Smart and her family from nine months of anguish?

DNA testing can bring closure to heart-rending questions. Now the nation waits to learn just who this little boy is. How does DNA technology work and why does it take so long to get answers?

Plus, alarming new statistics on just how many children are victimized each year.

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES are America's children at risk?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That's a pretty strong irony today as the president signed into law the Child Protection Act as the nation awaited anxiously for any proof the little boy found in Chicago is indeed the same little boy who went missing in North Carolina two years ago.

And, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has some startling evidence that America's children are more prone to abuse than ever before. It is launching a national advertising campaign to try to stop it.

These events lead us to ask a rather simple question about a profoundly important topic, how at risk are our children?

Over the next half-hour, we'll hope to give you some answers.

We want to start with the bigger picture now in the White House plan to protect the nation's children.

Here's Kelli Arena. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surrounded by families who have gone through the anguish of having a child abducted, President Bush signed a new law expanding the Amber Alert system, aimed at helping find kidnapped children, on hand, Elizabeth Smart in her first national public appearance since being returned to her family last month.

BUSH: No child should ever have to experience the terror of abduction, or worse. No family should ever have to endure the nightmare of losing a child.

ARENA: Amber Alerts exist in 41 states. They provide information on highway signs and over radio and television when a child goes missing. The system is credited with saving the lives of 64 children. The new legislation provides federal matching grants to states and communities for equipment and training to create a uniform network nationwide.

When it looked like the bill was stalled in Congress, Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed, pleaded for action.

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: That it is not something that can wait one more day. Lives are lost, and the blood of those children is on someone's head. And when something can be done, something should be done.

ARENA: Critics say child kidnappings by strangers are not as common as they may seem and that the $25 million going to enhance the Amber Alert system could be put to better use.

BARRY GLASSNER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: You have many more children who die each year from bicycle accidents, from common accidents in their homes. So why don't we put some money into those kinds of protections, dangers that students and young children face at school, on playgrounds?

ARENA: While the Amber Alert provision has gained the most attention, it is part of a wide-ranging package of child safety laws.

ERNIE ALLEN, NATL. CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: It enhances penalties for those who abduct or murder children. It provides for extended supervision for convicted sex offenders when they're released from prison. It attacks the whole issue of virtual child pornography.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: Under the bill signed by the president, obscene images of children created by computer technology will now be illegal. It is the one provision, though, that is expected to draw fire from free- speech advocates -- Paula.

ZAHN: Kelli, didn't in fact that very issue of virtual child porn recently go before the U.S. Supreme Court? ARENA: It did. Just last year, the Supreme Court actually struck down a ban on virtual child pornography. They said that it violated First Amendment rights.

Now, the legislation that was signed today is more narrow, but civil libertarians are already saying that they're going to challenge this in court. They say that there aren't any victims because the children that are depicted are not real. But, of course, the administration has argued that the images, which are very lifelike, are just as harmful as the real thing, Paula.

ZAHN: Kelli Arena, thanks so much.

The unsolved kidnapping and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in 1996 led to the alert system that now carries her name. And today, the president pointed to the Amber Alerts as an increasingly important tool in rescuing kidnapped children.

Joining me to talk about the legacy of AMBER: her grandmother Glenda Whitson.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GLENDA WHITSON, GRANDMOTHER OF AMBER HAGERMAN: Thank you.

ZAHN: I know this has been a bittersweet day for your family. What was your reaction as you watched a little of some of the coverage after the fact of the president's signing this bill into law?

WHITSON: Oh, I was elated right there, just beyond our wildest imagination, that this is happening and everything, because we never thought it would ever go this far. And it was a happy day for us all.

ZAHN: When you drive down the highway and you've seen some of the Amber Alerts go off or you've heard some of the Amber Alert warnings on television or radio, what goes through your mind?

WHITSON: Well, at first, you get that sinking feeling. You know that there's a child missing right there. And it's hard right there. It makes you want to cry right there. But then, if they find them, well, then, you want to jump for joy with their parents.

It's just -- I think it's the greatest thing that ever was, this Amber plan right there, because it has brought our children home, and thinking, if it had been in effect whenever Amber was taken, that she might be here today, too. But we can't think about that.

ZAHN: Well, for people who aren't that familiar with her story, we should make it clear that 911 got a call about her abduction immediately after a witness saw her snatched off her bicycle and thrown into a black pickup truck. And that all happened pretty quickly. But you're absolutely convinced, if the Amber Alert had been in place, that she might be alive today?

WHITSON: Yes, I think she might have, because, if there had been eyes and ears out everywhere, he might not have gotten away. ZAHN: I know you had the chance to...

WHITSON: So I believe that...

ZAHN: I'm sorry, Glenda. I know you had the chance to...

WHITSON: I believe that...

ZAHN: I'm sorry, Glenda.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Please carry on. I know there's a little delay in this signal here. You can finish your thought. I'm sorry. You're getting cut off here.

WHITSON: I just -- that's what I said. If that had been in effect whenever Amber was taken, that it might have been a different picture. We could have brought her home and all. But I'm glad that it's in effect now and then that her legacy is helping to bring the other children home and other parents have happy endings, where we didn't.

ZAHN: Yes. At a time when I know that there are dozens of new leads in Amber's case, does this provide any closure for you, when you know, even though Amber's killer is still out there, that you know from families you've heard that lives have been saved because of these alerts?

WHITSON: Oh, yes, right there. Well, I know they're still working on her case and everything. And like Mark Simpson said, he said that they keep working and, one of these days, they might get the phone call that leads to the -- his capture. So we can always hope.

ZAHN: Well, thank you for sharing your story with us tonight. We really appreciate your spending some time with us this evening. And best of luck to your family.

WHITSON: Thank you.

ZAHN: And after this short break: the story of a little boy in Chicago, a little boy in North Carolina who may be one and the same. A family waits for test results that could provide an answer and an end to more than two years of waiting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Some startling numbers, including this: that one in five girls, one in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before they reach the age of 18 in the United States, according to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.

Earlier this hour, we told you about the case of a 6-year-old boy who was abandoned in a Chicago hospital a couple months ago. Authorities want to know whether he is the same boy who went missing from his home in North Carolina two years ago. Gary Tuchman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The FBI is now saying it could have DNA results by this Friday that will likely determine if the boy on the left, Tristen Buddy Myers, missing since October 2000, is the same person as the boy on the right, Eli Quick, now in an Illinois foster home.

Ricky Quick says they are two different boys. He told the FBI on Wednesday he is the stepfather of Eli Quick, saying Eli's mother, Sharon Smith, died in a car crash.

QUESTION: If this is not Buddy Myers, is this just a strange coincidence that...

RICKY QUICK, BUDDY'S ALLEGED STEPFATHER: No. It's my wife's little boy. And we had a bad relationship. And that's it.

QUESTION: So it's another man's child?

QUICK: Yes.

QUESTION: OK. How long were you married to Sharon?

QUICK: Seventeen years. That's it. No more comment.

TUCHMAN: But the missing boy's guardian, his great aunt, who was with him just before he disappeared, is convinced the boy in Illinois is her boy.

DONNA MYERS, GREAT AUNT OF BUDDY: We're just doing a lot of praying that it is him. In our hearts, we all believe it is him. I mean, if it's not him, how can another child look so much like him?

TUCHMAN: Meanwhile, the missing boy's birth mother, who gave up custody of Buddy because she was 15 when she had him, says not only does she think it's him, but she plans to fight to get custody back.

RAVEN MYERS, MOTHER OF BUDDY: I'm really excited. I hope, if it's him, that I can be a mom again and hope to get the kind of relationship that he needs to have with his mom, which is me.

TUCHMAN: Raven Myers is currently a dancer at an adult club who says she does have custody of another child, a 1-year-old daughter. And in one more complicated twist, authorities say they are investigating reports she and alleged Chicago alleged stepfather Ricky Quick lived near each other when the missing boy was born.

(on camera): The authorities are telling us they're looking into the possibility that this Ricky Quick, who brought this boy to the hospital in Illinois, may have lived in Louisiana...

R. MYERS: See, I heard that.

TUCHMAN: ... at the same time as you.

R. MYERS: And I've been told that. And I don't -- I've never met him. I've never seen this man, except on TV last night.

TUCHMAN: Is there any possibility that perhaps you just don't remember seeing him or being with him?

R. MYERS: I would remember a face like that. And I don't remember him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: In this house behind me, the great aunt, Donna Myers, is looking forward to welcoming Buddy back to her household. So, if the Myers family gets the good news, it could be the beginning of a rather unseemly family fight.

One more thing we want to tell you about the DNA evidence, we've been told for the past several days, it would take four to six weeks to get the results back. We all wondered why it would take so long, if there was any way they could do it quicker. And we've obviously now gotten the answer that they can indeed do it much quicker -- Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Gary Tuchman, thanks so much.

Blood type, fingerprint, and dental matchups have not come back conclusively one way or the other as far as determining if Eli is really Buddy. Now experts must wait for those DNA tests that Gary was just talking about.

Well, how accurate is DNA, and how tough is this case?

I want to bring in someone who can help us out, Lawrence Kobilinsky, associate provost and associate professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

You've got to shorten your title, please.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: I do, Paula.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: First of all, people hearing that fingerprints come back inconclusive, what does that mean? Is it the quality of the print that is suspect?

KOBILINSKY: Yes, that's correct.

You are always making a comparison between a known and an unknown, an exemplar and a questioned. And if the exemplar is of poor quality and you don't have good definition of the ridge pattern, you will come back with an inconclusive. You need a certain number of points of minutia to make the identification. ZAHN: A lot of challenges with dental records as well, particularly if this young boy never had the checkups you're supposed to have.

KOBILINSKY: That's correct. Again, it comes back to having the X-rays for an exemplar to compare with his dentition. If you don't have that information, you can't establish identity.

ZAHN: Now, what's the deal with these DNA results? First, we were told it was going to take four to six weeks to get them back. Now we're being told anywhere from 36 to 72 hours.

KOBILINSKY: There's a good reason for that.

When DNA analysis reached the forensic field, it revolutionized human identification. There are two kinds of tests. One is nuclear DNA testing. That is done fairly quickly. And they can do it in a matter of days.

ZAHN: And what do you need to have that done?

KOBILINSKY: Well, you -- in this particular matter, we are trying to link up Buddy, or Eli, with the mother to see if she's the biological mother. We're really trying to do something like a paternity test, except it's maternity.

And it can be done in a couple of days, but you need to do a number of genetic marker tests. And that's what we're hearing about right now. You see, the other kind of testing is mitochondrial DNA, and that takes much longer. It's very labor-intensive. You're looking at the precise sequence of DNA in these structures that are present in all of our cells. It's a different kind of analysis. Both kinds of tests are highly reliable and admissible in virtually every court in the United States.

ZAHN: So, in the case of Buddy, you don't need a test done on the father. A maternal test can be conclusive...

KOBILINSKY: That's correct.

ZAHN: ... in and of itself?

KOBILINSKY: That's correct.

Actually, it's nice if you have the triad, the mother, the father, and the child. That gives you real solid data. But you can do it with a parent or an alleged parent, a putative parent, and a child. You just need to do some additional testing. But it can all be done in a matter of days. And that's what we're seeing.

ZAHN: Talk about the Laci Peterson case for a moment and how DNA has been applied in that case.

KOBILINSKY: Yes.

ZAHN: As gruesome as some of the details are, I think people are fascinated by how you make those conclusive matches.

KOBILINSKY: Well, in that particular case, the body washed up on the shore, but it was highly decomposed. And because of that, DNA testing had to be done by extracting DNA from whatever muscle was left and the skeletal remains.

And so, again, you always have to compare it to an exemplar, or a known specimen. It may have been a tooth brush. It may have been hair. And if you don't have that, you can do it through close relatives. But it is, again, nuclear DNA. It's done very rapidly. And in that particular case, once again, you can do mitochondrial DNA. And because that's a real serious criminal matter, they're going to dot all the I's and cross all the T's. They're going to do both.

We know they've already identified the body through nuclear DNA, because the statistics were billions to one. Clearly, they know the body is Laci Peterson. There's going to be other DNA. They're going to -- there's other evidence that links -- well, hopefully links the perpetrator to the crime. There's going to be a lot of genetic information. We just don't have it yet.

ZAHN: Finally, tonight, 10 years from now, will the technology be much better than what we've got now?

KOBILINSKY: Yes, absolutely. They're going to something called snip technology. They're looking at individual components that make up DNA. It's going to be much more rapid. It's going to be cheaper. It's going to be portable. They can do it at crime scenes. And what's scary is that all this money that we're spending on databases may not be useful in the future.

ZAHN: Professor Kobilinsky, as always, good to have a little tutorial on DNA.

KOBILINSKY: It's a pleasure. Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: And next time, we'll have you bring in a little model and help us really understand all the molecules involved.

KOBILINSKY: Thank you. I'll do that.

ZAHN: Again, thanks.

KOBILINSKY: Thank you.

ZAHN: Coming up: a look at those startling statistics we've been telling you about. One in 10 boys in this country sexually abused before he's 18, one in five girls molested?

We're going to talk to the head of a group that stands by those numbers, when LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back at about 10 minutes before the hour here. Trying to find lost and save exploited children is a desperate task and a much-needed one, according to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. It is launching a major advertising campaign to uncover what it calls America's dirty little secret.

Joining me now to explain exactly what that is, is Ernie Allen. He is the center's co-founder and its president and chief executive officer.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

ALLEN: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit about what you found. Your statistics show that one in five girls in America -- this is girls from the ages newborns up to the ages of what, 18?

ALLEN: To 18.

ZAHN: Are sexually abused. The numbers for boys are one in 10. Now, those numbers are staggering to folks who haven't heard these before. And some of our deft researchers thought they sound a little high. And here's what we found, that your numbers were actually a little conservative. And they found that one in four American girls have been abused. And I think the comparative figure for boys, you'll see in this next statistic, is still higher than your statistics.

How can this be?

ALLEN: Well, it happens because we already know that sex offenders -- that children and youth are the primary victims of sex offenders in this country and that most kids don't tell. Children are threatened, are intimidated, or they're ashamed or embarrassed. They don't tell mom. They don't tell dad. They don't tell anybody.

Researchers estimate that fewer than 35 percent of all of these sexual offenses against kids are ever reported to the police. So the ones we know about are just the tip of the iceberg. We think it's time to wake America up.

ZAHN: Not reported to the police because parents simply don't know about it, or kids have been shamed into not talking about it, or people think it's not going to make any difference to report it?

ALLEN: Well, we have this mind-set of who the people are who prey upon our children. We have this vision of the guy in the dirty trench coat lurking behind the tree.

What we have learned is that, overwhelmingly, those who victimize our children are known to them at least casually, seek legitimate access to them, and victimize our children more through a process of seduction than abduction. So, in many of these cases, the child feels conflicted, is made to feel like it's his or her fault, is ashamed, and, as a result, doesn't tell. And, as a result, law enforcement can't respond. We can't prosecute these offenders and can't provide the kind of help that these kids need. ZAHN: Obviously, you're rolling out this campaign to shock people into awareness. But, realistically, what can be done to bring down these numbers?

ALLEN: Well, the first thing that can be done -- and this is the focal point of the campaign -- is that parents need to become aware. They need to talk to their kids. And if they suspect that their child is a victim or that any child is a victim, first, they report it to the police and, secondly, they call the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, and we will help.

This ad campaign that we're rolling out tomorrow in three million "USA Today" newspapers, it's a poster, one of the posters in a series of ads to try to get America's attention and focus on this problem. Our hope is that people will get that poster, put it up at home on the refrigerator, on the bulletin board, at the office, at the school, at the youth organization. What we need to do first is make America aware.

ZAHN: Well, I hope it is effective.

I don't know whether you can answer this question, but are there any comparative numbers for other countries in the world? Is it higher here than it is in other countries?

ALLEN: Well, I think, to some extent, it is higher here. But, certainly, there is long history around the world of sexual exploitation of children.

In many parts of the world, there are people who consider it not to be criminal behavior, but to be an act of love directed toward a child. The reality is, the problem of child pornography is a worldwide phenomenon, child sex tourism. Wealthy people travel to regions of the world to have sex with children. Children are a commodity and are a targeted commodity by a substantial segment of the population for sexual purposes.

And I think we've made great progress on this . The signing of the Protect Act by President Bush today strengthens the penalties for sexual offenses against children, brings real focus on this problem. But the reality is, this truly is America's dirty little secret.

ZAHN: We've got 10 seconds left.

Do you just want to go home and cry at night after you see what you see during the course of your day?

ALLEN: Well, sometimes.

But there's hope. And one way that people could make a difference is to get this information and do something. If they get that poster tomorrow, that's the first step.

ZAHN: We wish you tremendous luck with your campaign.

ALLEN: Thank you, Paula. ZAHN: Ernie Allen, thank you very much for coming by.

ALLEN: Thank you.

ZAHN: That wraps it up for all of us here tonight. We hope you'll be back with us same place same time tomorrow night. "LARRY KING" is up next.

Thanks again for joining us tonight.

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